Wednesday, September 04, 2013

canning

One of the problems of not blogging for a long time, is that you aren't sure if you should start withe the projects you finished in your absence or the projects you are working on now. At least that's my problem. I think though I'll solve it by dealing with the now and hopefully catching up now that I have more time.

Oh who am I kidding, every summer it is the same for me. I spend summers with the children, being present, doing things and not really spending too much time in front of the computer. I put off all non-essential stuff saying--I'll get to it when school starts. And then school does start and I spend September rushing around like mad catching up from the last three months of neglect.

So we had lots of fun this summer, and I have two projects I want to write about at a later time, but now I want to talk about the issue that has taken over my life lately: canning.

Maybe this always happens and I just don't notice it but this year peaches AND tomatoes are both in high season at the same time. Last year I canned both for the first time ever and let me tell you--it was a long hard winter rationing out the peaches and tomatoes. So this year, I decided to make more. Last Saturday we purchased a bushel of peaches from our favorite orchard Christofferson Farms(sorry facebook link), and I spent labor day and the first day of school chopping, peeling, pitting and canning.

How many peaches in a bushel you say?
PEACHES

After filling 15 cans, I had only made a dent:
dent

So maybe a bushel was going overboard. Maybe.

For the record, I had done a small batch a few weeks ago, and a batch of honey spiced peaches too. I gave away 2 jars of the first batch in a thank you basket I made for an aunt who invited us to spend a few days at her cottage on Lake Michigan so I have now 31 jars of regular peaches, and three honey spiced.

I made one batch of jam earlier too. I have enough peaches left to either freeze, make more jam, or make lassi for dinner tonight (to go with the eggplant curry (you can see the eggplant in the first picture).

One thing I like about canning, besides what people usually say they like about canning (it tastes better, you know what is in it, no metal cans, etc.) is how it gives me a real appreciation for the past. Particularly women of my grandmother's generation, who canned from their gardens to support their families. Canning is hard--I estimate I spent 6 hours on those 30 jars (all pints). My back ached, my fingers got chapped, and I was stuck at home on some really nice cool days. And all those jars? Well we eat basically a quart at a sitting between the four of us, so that's two pints every time we have them. So those 30 jars represent 15 meals. Out of how many in a year? I could never ever can enough food to exclusively feed us. And I don't think my ancestors did either--although I'm sure they ate less. But it gives you a real appreciation for just how much work can go into feeding your family.

Today I am off to pick tomatoes at our CSA. I love love love our CSA. In addition to the fresh vegetables (and melons) grown and handed out every week (buffet style so you don't get stuck with tons of stuff you don't like--even though I do it like a buffet and sample), during high season you can go out to the farm and pick if you are putting up. So a month ago, people who pickle could go out and pick bushels of cucumbers. I don't pickle. I do make sauce and can tomatoes though so, now that tomatoes are bountiful, I get to do the real farm to table thing.

closer

1 comment:

Brittany said...

I whole-heartily agree with spending the summer with people who matter and then rushing around in September. That's LIVING! Also, way to go on the peaches! I bet your kitchen smells divine!