Monday, September 19, 2011

The apple (or pear/tomato/blueberry) doesn't fall far from the tree.

I might have mentioned on here before that I have fond memories of canning tomatoes with my mom when I was little.

(Truth be told, and I'm sure my mom would agree, that a more accurate account of canning tomatoes with her when I was little sounded something like this: "It's hot. I'm bored. This is stupid. How much longer do I have to help? When can I go outside?" Funny how time makes things more nostalgic...)

At any rate, I was at her house on Saturday, and we were making sweet pickles. I had to make several trips to the basement to get canning supplies or odds and ends that were needed during the process. At some point, it all hit home. "Wow," I thought, "I wish my larder looked like this."

She's got tomatoes, pears, hot pepper jelly, apple sauce, blueberry jam and chutney, salsa, pickles, and weiners and peppers.

She's a old pro (but not really old, right, Mom? haha) when it comes to canning. I have a pretty good grasp on hot water canning, but pressure canning still makes me nervous, even after taking a class the local extension offered. Last weekend, we canned hot weiners and peppers in the pressure canner. I kept asking questions and second guessing myself, so I'm glad she was there to give me a refresher. She used to always do these in a hot water bath, but after taking the extension class, decided she really should be pressure canning them because of the meat. She's pressure canned two batches and had a handful of quarts not seal because they run over in the pressure canner--something she never had trouble with when she used the water bath. So, she's decided to go back to her tried and true ways of doing those. Sometimes the new way of doing things has it's drawbacks, I guess.

I'm so glad that my mom taught me to can. I really enjoy doing it, actually. It makes eating local whole foods so much easier and economical, and it allows you to stretch what's in season now through the winter. And, it makes me feel a connection to the past. On the top shelves of my mom's larder (and I should have gotten a picture) are several half gallon jars, which are almost impossible to find now. Along with those half gallon jars are a few jars of canned goods that my granny canned when she was alive. Of course, they aren't any good to eat now, but It's just nice to see something like that now that I'm carrying on the tradition.

After all, one of Michael Pollan's food rules is to "Eat like your granny." I truly do.

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