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Adventures in food preservation

September 22, 2010

I have never had an urge to can before, not when it’s 110 degrees outside.

But up here, in the northern country, I can feel the change in the air, and it has brought on such a flurry of activity. The days are still warm, but there is a cool breeze, the apples red and the Canadian geese are on the move.

And I feel like a squirrel, hurrying to gather and store for winter. There was no time to plant a garden this year, but I’ve been at the farmer’s market each week buying a bushel of tomatoes and carrots, and bunches of delicious basil and dill.

I will say, truthfully, that the whole canning business had me terrified. Boiling jars and lids, skinning tomatoes…eek! But, never being one to ease into anything, I just dove right in and spent an entire morning elbow deep in tomato pulp. It was such a lovely, tactile, cathartic experience. Then at the last minute I got nervous about water-bath canning, and stuck the whole lot in the freezer.

The next day I gave myself a pep talk. I could do this canning thing, and if the family got botulism, what a story to tell! I went through with the whole process, and no one has died, yet.

Addison had been begging to make dill pickles, so we try our hand at that as well. We’re calling them our Halloween pickles, because that’s about the time they’ll be ready.

I’ve been making batches of zucchini bread and chocolate zucchini muffins as well, but we seem to eat those up as fast as I can freeze them. All the kids pitched in to make raspberry jam after we went berry picking.

Asher has pitched in by taking good, long naps, and sampling the fresh fare.

Now, I really should get on to unpacking, organizing the basement, and finally hanging pictures on the wall, but I have all winter to do that, right?

  1. September 22, 2010 10:02 am

    Beautiful pictures! You have such a lovely way of making ordinary events seem idyllic and extraordinary. From the perspective of this idealist, I’m grateful for your blog! I was up to my eyeballs in 50lbs of tomatoes yesterday. I finished around 2am this morning. Canning is really satisfying. Probably because it is the antithesis of the daily work over a hot stove for awhile to have kids reject and complain about what you’ve made and then dump the waste down the disposal. You actually have something to show for your work afterward! Although, tomatoes might have been a bit much for me. I’ve done peaches, pears, nectarines, cherries, and pickles this year, on top of the salsa and spaghetti sauce. Tomatoes have been my least favorite. Apples are next! And as my dad would say, “How domestic!”

    • September 22, 2010 11:39 am

      Oh, fellow canning friend! Yes, tomatoes nearly did me in as well. The first couple times I dutifully skinned them and deseeded them. After that I just blended them whole in my blender: success! But don’t tell anyone…

  2. Melinda permalink
    September 22, 2010 10:12 am

    What fun!!! Those jars look great! I agree with waiting to finish unpacking until stuck inside during the doldrums of winter. Although, your new climate will be a bit more inside-y than mine. Sympathies.

  3. Alice-Anne permalink
    September 22, 2010 10:36 am

    Looks so good! I had the same trepidation about canning but now glad I did it (botulism or not!) It is truly a satisfying experience….I’m envious of those raspberries! Yum!!

    • September 22, 2010 11:41 am

      I just saw on your blog last night that you’ve been canning. I’m jealous of the peaches. I love homemade canned peaches. We should start a cross-country swap!

  4. John Gholdston permalink
    September 22, 2010 11:01 am

    Wonderful blog. I can’t stop being an editor, though: it’s CANADA GEESE, not Canadian. Sorry. My daughter says she’s terrified every time she posts a blog because I want to edit it. Sigh. It’s a curse. And a blessing.

    • September 22, 2010 11:37 am

      Canada Geese? All these years, I had no idea. Once an editor, always an editor. Our oldest son Jackson found a typo in Harry Potter the other day: Snap instead of Snape. We were so proud!

  5. Loni permalink
    September 22, 2010 3:34 pm

    Tiffany, great pictures, and as usual, your writing is simply dee-licious!

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