30 September 2008

Of course I can!

I am so excited that winter is drawing near. No, not because of the skiing (though it might be nice to try this year). I'm excited because canning season is almost done. I am SO DONE with canning.

Last year we got into canning. We preserved some tomatoes, some apricots, and a bunch of pickles. I kind of felt compelled to do it, wanting to provide sustenance for my family in those long winter months ahead (ignoring the modern conveniences of grocery stores and international shipping of produce). This year I just went crazy. I figured last year we did well, this year why not can more? And why not try some new things? That, my friends, is where I made my mistake.

Want some advice when it comes to canning? Here goes:

1) Warnings about hot pepper preparation are to be heeded. Otherwise your hands will feel like they're on fire for at least a full day, if not longer. Pain is amplified if you run your hands under hot water, scratch your nose, or bite your fingernails.

2) If everyone you talk to seems surprised that you'd want to can corn rather than freeze it, ask yourself why that might be. It's probably because canning is a lot more work, and the end product doesn't taste that great. PLUS canned corn in the store, even organic, is really pretty cheap.

3) Ditto on the green beans. Do you know how long it takes to pick, wash, chop, pack, and process green beans? For.bloody.ever. Don't do it.

4) Learned last year: if your family isn't all that excited about some bit of produce (say, plums) that is in abundance and free, don't go all out canning it. They won't be any more excited once it's been processed and sat in the basement all winter. Anybody want some canned plums?

Now, for personal edification, here is the list of our canning results this year. I haven't counted up how many jars we have yet, but the shelves in the basement are filling.
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Pureed tomatoes
  • Tomato juice
  • Salsa
  • Pickles (dill)
  • Relish
  • Corn
  • Green beans
  • Apricots
  • Peaches
  • Peach juice
  • Applesauce
Ah, winter. I'll be able enjoy my weekends, not worrying about getting up early to go to the farmer's market. No stressing about the boxes of produce in the kitchen that will all turn to mush if I don't process them *NOW*. And I'll have yummy, fresh-tasting tomato sauces in those cold winter months. Hmm, maybe it was worth it...


Doreen said...

I love canned plums. Too bad we don't live close anymore, I'd totally take them off your hands (shelves). :p Canned peaches are great! You didn't happen to use the pits to make peach pit syrup, did you? Yummy goodness on fresh waffles. :o)

Karin said...

ooh, ooh, we love plums at my house. WE always do plums (except for this year because of the non-existent crop and no time at oma's house). we love plum butter and you have to kind of stew 'em down for butter. Then, of course, we forget about htem and stew them down too much so we end up with only one jar of plum "tar." But Jared savors that one jar and spreads it on everything he can think of. Aah, good times.

Mama bee said...

Peach pit syrup? Never heard of it. Now I'll have to do some research, and may have yet another canning project next year. :-)

Karin, if we run into a surplus of plums this year (haven't checked our friend's tree, so I don't know yet) I'll let you know.