I did not grow up with a canner. My mother did not can. My maternal grandmother did not can or least not when I knew her. My paternal grandmother did can but she lived so far away and I saw her so infrequently that the closest I ever came to canning with her was the fall that I made applesauce (which I didn’t can, but froze instead). I didn’t have any idea of what to do. My mother didn’t know. But I called granny. Not only did she know how to make applesauce she walked me through it. While we talked on the phone she told me what I needed to do. Somewhere I have her hand written instructions for making apple butter.
The first bit of canning I ever did was with a friend from church. Boobear and I went out to her house and we made jam. I fell in love with canning. Later that summer we canned peaches. The next year my girls and I canned peaches. Last year we invested in a pressure canner and Honeybear and the girls canned green beans and carrots.
This past fall we canned tomatoes. That was another first for me. It was a blast canning tomatoes with my friends and my oldest daughter. We did have a problem though. We didn’t can enough. Oh we canned and we canned but I didn’t realize how many pints and quarts of tomatoes my family goes through. We’re planning on canning tomatoes again this year. More tomatoes. Maybe more than one session.
My husband’s family canned and he had many memories and stories of canning. We talked for years of getting a pressure canner and doing our canner. I already knew I preferred home canned green beans, carrots and tomatoes because when we were first married we often “shopped” at his parents pantry. I was very grateful, and very much enjoyed my mother-in-law’s canning.
Last year we did invest in a pressure canner. The great thing about this canner is that I could still water bath half pints and pints. It will pressure can those sizes as well as quarts. Last year we used it as the pressure canner and canned green beans and carrots. We discovered that like the tomatoes I canned with Boobear and friends, we did not do enough green beans or carrots. This year we plan to do more. We already did 4 pints of green beans last weekend and we’ll do another 3 pints this week and maybe another 4 pints this weekend. That is if we make it to the produce stand or the farmer’s market.
Boobear and Tailorbear with little input or help from me did up 12 1/2 pints of strawberry jam this past weekend. That means we’ve done up two dozen 1/2 pints of strawberry jam. Fresh local strawberries are no longer in season so that means if we do more strawberry it will be from store bought or frozen berries. We’ve already eaten two jars. I am nearly certain we did not make enough.
We have a raspberry jam making session scheduled for next week and I’m thinking blackberry jam will be happening soon. I might make a mixed berry jam with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and some non-local strawberries.
Applesauce and Peaches are on our list of things we’d like to do as well as dilly beans. I’m thinking I might even do something with marinated/garlic/dill cauliflower, carrot and bell pepper mix. It’s too late this year (I think) but pickled asparagus sounds yummy.
Does summer mean canning to you? Did you grow up canning? What’s your favorite home canned food?
Check out this week’s letter!