Wednesday, July 25, 2012


A couple years ago, I decided I wanted to start canning.  I had seen a show on PBS called Folkways and it sparked my interest.  This lady on there had a whole shed full of jars and jars of food preserved.  I got to thinking, I can do that. 

The first year I bought my tomatoes from a local store.  Since them I have been growing them.  My garden isn't pretty but man is it productive.  I can't even bring myself to show you a picture of it.  It's too embarrassing with all the weeds.  But here are 2 buckets of tomatoes that I picked out of it in just the past 2 days.

As I got more comfortable with the process, I started canning more and more.  I grew extra tomatoes and started doing more than just sauce.  I have done salsa, diced tomatoes, soup, and even black beans.

Here are a couple reasons why I do it.
  • Practicality - We eat off these tomatoes for the whole year.  Pasta sauce, chili, soups, etc.  With all I can, I still never seem to have enough.
  • A sense of accomplishment - There is nothing like looking at what you have canned and know that your hard work produced that.
  • Quality of food - most cans these days have preservatives in them.  Some of the liners of the cans even have BPA in them.  When you can your own food, you control what goes into it. 
  • A connection to the past - I love feeling a connection with the women who have come before us.  They didn't do this as a hobby.  They did it as a way of life.  They didn't have a choice.  After you spend one afternoon canning and see how much work goes into it, the respect for your ancestors goes up.
Here are a few more pictures from the process.

Making the Sauce

My apron covered in seeds.  They seem to go everywhere and I finally remembered the apron today.

Loading the Jars

Watching it Go

Cooling down.  If you have never canned, you should hear them pop as they seal.  It's the best sound in the world.

Labeling.  I really think this is my favorite part!

Current Tally.  Sauce is in quarts.  Diced is in pints.  Salsa is in pints.  It may look like a lot but it's still not enough for the year.

Today's Bounty - 9 quarts of sauce.

There is so much sweat equity  and a few burns in this but I totally think it's worth it.  I just hope that all this effort gets me through this year.  Only time will tell that one.

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