Sep 2, 2009

It's Canning Time....Drat :)

It is canning season again. And would you believe that I dread it? Why on earth do I do it so religiously then? Isn't it cheaper to just buy it? Isn't my time more valuable? All good questions. I have been really thinking about them this year in particular.

I grew up with a mom who canned and a dad who helped her. A lot of my childhood memories are of turning tomatoes or peaches in the pot of water on the stove, blanching ears of corn, and my mom staying up late. I do not remember ever thinking to myself that I could hardly wait to grow up so I can do my own canning and have a messy kitchen and stay up late. And canning was a distant memory until we moved to Lawrence, Kansas about 5 years into our marriage. I am not sure how or why but all of a sudden it all came back to me and I wanted to do it. I think the first thing I canned was tomatoes. Canning back then required a ton of question asking and two moms to be present. One to watch kids, and pick kids up from schools and one mom to keep the canning process going. I canned applesauce with Wendi Bastian. I canned tomatoes with Ruth Harrison. I canned peaches, applesauce AND melted a microwave with Alyson (good times). I do not remember who I canned strawberry jam with but I know I did it. I had a logistical nightmare once in the middle of canning peaches in Indiana and had a dear friend Jill come over and help me finish peaches since my husband was out of town and my kids were needing to be 9 million different directions

Early on in the process I asked myself a lot of questions about my intentions and my purpose in canning. I really did not want to be canning just because my mom did. I wanted to make sure it was worth it. To this day I only can what my family will eat. No canning of chicken for this girl. I tried canning pickles since my kids love pickles but they did not turn out so well and I can get an enormous jar of pickles from Costco for not very much so pickles are not included in the necessary to can list. What is necessary to can? Applesauce, peaches, pears, jam and tomatoes. These are things the family eats and things that I know the prices of and know without a doubt I can can them for much less than I can buy them in the store.

My second year of canning I discovered that one of the things I hated the most was not being able to remember what I had done the last year. So I started a book. And in this book I write what I canned each year. I write what I bought, how much of it, how much I paid and how many jars I ended up with. I also keep phone numbers and directions to the farms and I even write about how long it took me and what I was wearing :) JK. This book helps me to be more efficient and also helps meet my incessant need to know everything. It also has helped me many times to be able to say to the farmer while batting my eyelashes, "But you charged me this price last year."

So today in my book I wrote, "Outlook Farm in Westhampton on Route 66. Twenty lbs of seconds of peaches for $12.00." I bought 3 boxes which means 60 lbs of peaches for $36.00. Last year I canned 50 lbs and got 29 quarts of peaches. These peaches are VERY ready so I am counting on being up all night tonight canning my guts out. I am dreading it. But once I get into it it is not so bad and there is nothing so rewarding as the sound of your lids popping to show they have sealed and they are happy inside.

So far this year I have canned 26 pints of tomatoes plus 4 quarts of tomatoes. Twenty pints of strawberry jam. And I have picked and frozen 14 lbs of Blueberries.

So I am heading into the busy time for canning...peaches, pears, raspberry jam, more tomatoes and applesauce will all happen in the the next month. I miss having a friend to can with me it makes it go so fast. But I will gather every CD in the house and be content to can with The Killers, Taylor Swift, Good Charlotte and much more. But if you happen to be up late tonight and need someone to talk to call me on my cell phone and surprise me......


Kristy said...

You are a superstar! Canning 12 pints of cherries about did me in. However, I might try again ... but something different. I think freezer jam is most likely the right speed for me.

Bernd and Rachel said...

You know I would love to be there to help Jenn! Good luck with those peaches.:)

Alyson said...

You go, girl. I'm still out of the canning business.