Lately, most of my calls with my mom include her telling me once or more that she’s so glad ONE of her daughters learned how to can. Take that, four sisters! I win–mom likes me best! I have put her instruction to good use, unlike certain people. </evil laughter> While more canning will certainly happen as fall progresses, we currently have some 50+ jars of food we have canned:
- Blackberry jam (with blackberries from parents’ yard!)
- Blueberry lime jam (with blueberries I picked!)
- Peach + Maker’s Mark butter (with peaches from nearby Sauvie Island)
- Carrots and garlic (from our garden)
- Whole peaches (picked them off of Germantown Rd with neighbor Liz)
- Marinara sauce (with tomatoes and herbs from our garden; relax, methtards didn’t take ALL the tomatoes)
- Plums in vanilla syrup (plums from parents’ trees)
In the process of preserving this modest array of food, I have learned a bit.
- Canning will take at least an hour longer than you were hoping, and more if you have someplace to go afterward
- It’s possible to dirty every dish and pan in the kitchen, twice, before you’re done
- Standing for hours+warm summer day+avoidance of bottle-breaking drafts+water heating+hoiking carrots out of the ground=exhaustion and a marked lethargy surrounding spending any additional time in the kitchen
- Silicone oven mitts are worth their weight in carbon fiber
- Canning peaches is not worth the work. That’s what the freezer is for.
- Opening the second bottle of wine around the time you start processing jars is fine. Opening the second bottle of wine while you are still cutting fruit up is just plain dangerous.
- When you freeze tomatoes, they roll clinkingly around like billiard balls in the freezer if you disturb them
- Speaking of the freezer, it’s a faster way of preserving *some* kinds of food, if you don’t have time to can and do have space to freeze. It is, however, far less satisfying.
- I already knew I had a super fabulous boyfriend, but I learned an additional great thing about him: he’s an awesome canning accomplice.
The highs so far have been basically everything but the peaches. Those bastards were a nightmare. The variety we picked was extremely fragile and was bruised by the time we got home from the orchard. They proceeded to disintegrate in the jars when we canned them an hour or so later. AND they floated to the top of the jars. There was no way to smash them into the jar without macerating them, and with the specter of my mom’s perfect canned peaches hanging over me, I couldn’t do it. For a nice winter project, I’ll knit the jars some skirts so they look less…exposed.