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Article: Why Canning? Anecdotal Reasons for an Old-Fashioned Activity--Bridget

  1. Why Canning? Anecdotal Reasons for an Old-Fashioned Activity--Bridget

    5 Comments by pepperlandgirl Published on 02 Nov 2009 01:12 PM
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    Why Canning? Anecdotal Reasons for an Old-Fashioned Activity--Bridget

    Leaves are changing color, the air is crisp, and you're noticing Mason jars on the shelf at your local grocer or hardware store. Perhaps you idly wonder who, at this point in history, has time for home preserving. Then you move on, filling your cart with commercially packaged jars, cans, and cardboard boxes.

    But what if you decided to give canning a chance? Sounds hilariously old-fashioned, doesn't it? What's next, a pickling crock? (Well, okay, I do use one of those, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.) Rumor has it some people take up home canning because they want to create delicious concoctions or because they want to carry on family traditions. Me, I started three years ago in self defense. My partner Joe and I haven't yet managed to convince our two cats to eat fruits and vegetables, and when we signed up for a community-supported agriculture program we had no idea there would be weeks we'd get twelve pints of blueberries or several heads of cabbage at once. We only have so much fridge space; it was either going to be home canning or drowning in produce.

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  3. #2
    Oliphaunt jali's avatar
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    I've always been afraid of accidently poisoning myself by not sterilizing the bottles properly. I'm a punk.
    They weren't singing....they were just honking.
    Glee 2009

  4. #3
    Stegodon SilverTygerGirl's avatar
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    My family cans apple butter every few years. The tiny town I spent my formative years in had an Apple Butter Fest every year and we picked up the recipe there (minus the bees*). We've never had any problems, except for the occasional jar the doesn't seal (like one every four or five batches). That one gets put in the fridge immediately.

    * Part of the Apple Butter Fest was making apple butter in giant pots in the park. The bees would get attracted by the sugar, naturally enough, and end up drowning themselves. And then tourists would buy the jars of apple butter. I swear one of these days I'm going back for a week or so.
    When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When all you have is a bowel disruptor, everything's a poop joke.
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  5. #4
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    I've been canning for my whole life, first as a little girl helping Mum and for the last 44 years in my own kitchen. In the last few days I canned Lemon Chutney, Apple/Date Chutney, Plum/Apple/Mint jelly, Raspberry Jam from berries frozen during the summer. I have 30 pounds of frozen blackberries left to deal with, and then on to Salsa. I often use canned tomatoes for the salsa, the nice Roma-type.

    I like to know what's in the food I give my family. I like the look of the jars, all lined up in the cupboard. I like the feeling of accomplishment. Over the years I have learned what's worth the trouble and what isn't. There have been failures and unexpected successes. Like, who would have thought Pickled Pumpkin was so nice? And why did my dill pickles go all soggy and horrid and have to be dumped on the compost even thought I used the same recipe I've used for 40 years?

    I used to can a lot more than I do now. But I was never the equal of my neighbour, who had eight children. She "put up" hundreds of quarts every year, including canning a whole moose. For those with a pressure canner and the inclination, few things are more delicious than home-canned meat or chicken.
    Sophmoric Existentialist

  6. #5
    Prehistoric Bitchslapper Sarahfeena's avatar
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    I'm a fan of canning, but I don't do it too often. I'd like to do more, for sure. We got into it one year because we have a plum tree that decided that season to burst with fruit, and we just couldn't bake enough pies to use them up. So, we made tons of plum jam, jelly, and butter. Still using it up, in fact, and that was probably 5 years ago. Haven't had that big of a harvest since, but I think next year I'm going to try to grow a bunch of tomatoes and make the salsa that vison gave us the recipe for. I also really want to try making my own pickles, just because I love 'em.

  7. #6
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    Quote Originally posted by jali View post
    I've always been afraid of accidently poisoning myself by not sterilizing the bottles properly. I'm a punk.
    It's not improperly sterilized jars that will poison you. It's the botulism spores that MIGHT be on some foods.

    Botulism is an anaerobic killer, it grows in the oxygen-less contents of canning jars, in non-acid foods that were not taken up to the correct temperature and held there for the correct length of time. This varies from foodstuff to foodstuff and must be done exactly as required.

    Acid foods, such as peaches or plums, pickles and relishes and most jams or jellies, will not support botulism.
    Sophmoric Existentialist

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