This year I’m trying to be a better Earthling and fudge, its hard.
I had a ton of crunchy New Years Resolutions, many of which I’ve forgotten and neglected as we do six months later, but sometimes I try and remember them. I walk to the grocery store occasionally, and I totally skirt by the clothing section at stores to reduce my impulse shopping, and I’m still using my family cloth when I remember to put it in the bathroom.
Regardless, two ideas have really struck a chord with me in 2018. The first, is to buy more local. The second, is to use less single-use products.
That’s why I’m canning this summer because I want to save some fresh local produce for my family consume over the winter months. Last winter, fresh produce prices were crazy, and freezing food isn’t practical without buying a bigger, better freezer. Freezing food also means using Ziploc bags, which for the most part, we can consider a single-use item. There are fancy silicone bags, but I’m not sure if you’ve priced those out – canning jars are the more reasonable expectation.
I also think things would just be forgotten in the freezer. I found a duck in my freezer. I remember buying a duck when Eric and I were still dating, 7 years ago… Freezer is just code for giant black hole of forgotten. With canning jars, I can line them up nicely in the kitchen and know they exist.
My Canning Experience
I have spent 3-4 days canning now.
Why is fresh produce always ready on the hottest days of the year?
I have put 36 jars of Chilliwack Corn (if you’re from BC, you know what that means), 8 jars of Okanagan Cherries pitted), 12 big jars of pickles, 18 little jars of pickles, and that’s it.
I am loving it because I love having something to do.
5 Things I’ve Learnt About Canning
It Makes Me Happy
Let’s just kick start with the good because I am loving canning. I love having something to do that feels purposeful and worthy of time. Some of us really struggle with motherhood and housekeeping, and I’m one of those people. These two chores drag on my soul, and I find myself regretful, angry, and full of anxiety, but canning has given back some purpose and something different in my life that I needed.
It’s hard to explain, but in meeting my goals to rely on less plastic bagged produce from the freezer section, I find myself satisfied at keeping my family alive this winter.
Just because your mama did it that way, doesn’t mean it’s up to current food safety standards.
Did you know they’ve changed the acidity guidelines for preserving foods since the recipes my mom picture messaged me? I didn’t know until I was reading my Joy of Cooking book that this happened, and they explained it had to do with Boteualism risks.
So, now we need to use a higher ratio of vinegar in pickling recipes to keep everyone safe.
Know better, be better.
Also, dont’ forget to check things like elevation when setting times and weights for water bath and pressure cooker. I’m over 1,000 feet in Prince George which is notably different than when I grew up at Sea Level. You can find out more about times here.
Are you really canning if you don’t have an apron?
- The answer is No.
- Everything is sticky, and while I tend never to wear an apron while cooking or baking, canning seems to be the time it’s needed most. I already have a pretty sweet apron my sister made me, but the kids they only have an apron.
- We had a blast colouring one of SewBrightCreations Colour Me Aprons. It also doubled as a great activity to keep kids busy while I was busy.
- Personally, I don’t they appreciate the value in colouring a beautifully handcrafted apron, I would just buy one and do it myself. However, my Instagram fans suggested, I should let the kids do it. Did they squabble and just draw squiggles, yes. They are only 18 months and 3 years old.
It’s surprisingly easy to do with kids underfoot
Kids see you busy in the kitchen and they tend to just bugger off and do their own thing. True story because most of the time it was never an issue, I’d find them playing on the deck, or the backyard, or just quietly with their toys. Sometimes they would come and help, but hte kitchen is a hot zone and they were just surprisingly good at staying away. It’s like they knew or something.
Never let a farmer talk you into buying a crate of something when you have no idea what you’re doing.
The same could apply to the 8 dozen cobs of corn I brought home, and the 25 pounds of pickling cucumbers. I’m only one woman, with two kids, and that was a lot of work. Be strong, and they say “it’s cheaper when you buy more,” think about how much time you really have canning jars, and more!
Do you can?
Or is it just something you mother does? Tell me about your experiences in the comments below and your favourite food to put up! What’s keeping you from preserving local?
My mother had an entire shelf of canning. And by a shelf, I mean closet. I remember it being 6 feet tall, and about 4-5 wide. I was also half the size I am today, so I’ll let my mother weigh in on that later. It would always be full of corn, pickles, cherries, raspberries (yum), jam, beans, salmon, tomatoes, and more.
I hope to put up some green beans soon, and curious what I’ll find on my drive to Vancouver next week. We find ourselves limited with the availability of produce in Prince Geroge because of the Northern short growing season, so the trip should help. I’m debating peaches, but I didn’t really eat them the last few years I put them up.