Goals for Summer
This summer my goal is to learn to can tomatoes, peaches, and pickles. And if there is time - make my own homemade jam. These are all delicacies I grew up with, yet I didn't truly appreciate them until I recently read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.
Ms. Kingsolver's lovely book chronicles her family's quest to eat locally with an emphasis on growing, harvesting, and preserving the majority of the food themselves for an entire year. The book is not a how-to unless you already own a farm and are mentally prepared to "harvest" chickens and turkeys with your own hands. The book does however, present yet another example of how far away mentally and physically most of us are to the food we eat every day. It makes an excellent case to do what you can to remake that connection. One of the ways I want to reconnect is to learn the process of canning.
I can vividly remember my mother, my aunt, and my grandmother working several days straight in a steaming hot kitchen in the middle of August in order to preserve the summer's harvest of tomatoes at the peak of their flavor. As a small child I recall readily and happily aiding in the steamy canning process. As a teen, I remember thinking it was weird that my family had homemade can goods. Why couldn't we just be normal and have Smuckers-super-sugared jelly like everyone else? Now, years later I see the health benefits of canning my own preservative and artificial-flavor free peaches and can't wait to get started. Plus, I am looking forward to spending time with my grandmother, mother, and aunt learning a skill that will surely become extinct if some members of my generations don't learn the techniques.
If all works out Gretchen may be joining me for the canning cram session with the family this summer - I promise pictures and step-by-step processes will be posted on the blog.
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