Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Here it is.

I do not like canning.

I don't hate it, but it is not anywhere near the top of my list of ways to spend a day. Or an afternoon. Or even an hour. It can be tedious, and time consuming, what with all the washing of jars, chopping of fruit or vegetables, cooking things down, heating things up, bringing to a boil, keeping at a simmer, packing and wiping and tightening and loading. And then you still have to do the dishes.

On Sunday, Keith and I worked on peaches together, which was a nice change from doing green beans, carrots, pickles, tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes on my own. And I'm not picking on him about that, it is just that he's at work and though he is more than willing to help when he gets home, who wants to still be canning at 9 at night? So I do it during the day, often to the music of small boys yelling at each other.

Maybe if I had the house completely to myself, I would settle into a rhythm as I worked my way through whatever produce needed to be dealt with. I would be able turn on music I enjoy and actually hear it, I could work my way through the dishes as the canner bubbled away, instead of attending to the needs of little men, I could grab a handful of crackers instead of needing to stop and fix lunch. (I bought a book of recipes for small-batch canning, thinking it would be easier to do in my days of frequent interruptions. Except I found myself doubling and tripling the recipes to use up cucumbers and tomatoes. I foiled my own plan.)

But truly, though I do not enjoy canning, I am always left with a smile when I survey shelves full of the fruits (and vegetables) of our labors. Things from our garden that, without canning, we would only be able to enjoy for a short season. In the winter, I am glad to have vegetables close at hand and easy to heat up and fill our bellies with. I am happy to know exactly what is going into our mouths and nourishing our bodies. At least we can be responsible for a portion of the food we eat, and Colter and Elliott will grow up understanding where food comes from, how it grows, and just how much work it takes.

So the tomatoes are still going crazy and I see more chopped tomatoes and salsa in our near future, and of course there will be applesauce in the fall, but things are winding down. I will say that canning was a bit more pleasant this year, as we didn't have as many hot and humid days when the steam from the canner makes it feel like it is going to rain inside. Maybe by next summer, Colter will be big enough to wash the jars...

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