Home Canning

Friday, July 24, 2009

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idelness. Proverbs 31: 27

Yesterday a couple of co-workers and I were discussing farmer’s markets, gardening and summer produce in general, when one of them declared, “Home Canning is a dead art”. Now just for perspective, this co-worker is:

1. Young (very young….23 to be exact—I have a daughter that age)
2. A “city girl” (no offense to city girls, I myself grew up a “city girl”, in a very large city, in fact)

3. A college-educated, professional woman (unlike me…a working gal who is
first and foremost, a keeper of our home)
4. Not the least bit domestic (feels it below her)

But DEAD? How can that be so? After all, I still practice the art of home canning and preserving (admittedly, not like I used to) and I cannot possibly be alone in this endeavor. I guess after some thought, I am feeling a little alone here….a bit of a throw back to a time gone FOREVER.

Yesterday evening I was remembering back to an experience I had a few years ago (1999 - I think, that is a few isn’t it?). All my dear children were still at home and we raised a large garden and I canned much more than I do these days. This particular day, I has spent the entire hot, summer day cycling canner load after canner load, thrilled at the sound of each and every PING as the jars sealed, until at the end of the afternoon, I was left a sweaty (yeah, I know, ladies glisten), melted mess (we lived without air-conditioning in those days) but very satisfied as I surveyed the abundant blessing weighing down my kitchen table. Just then the doorbell rang. At my door were 2 older ladies from church. I wiped by brow and invited them into my home (which was in a state since the children has entertained themselves while I canned). I quickly begged their pardon and explained that I had spent the entire day canning. They both looked at me as though I my shoulders had just sprouted a second head. One lady managed to say, “I didn’t know anyone still did that”. With the Lord’s help, I got through that visit and actually hadn’t given it much thought again until today.

I still can…really I do. But with only 2 children still at home and working full-time outside the home, I don’t can like I once did. Sadly, I have to admit that I am not as determined or as diligent as I once was. This year we didn’t even get in a garden because we didn’t get moved into our new house until later in the season. I don’t want the art of home canning to die because of me. That said, yesterday evening I got out into the garage and found my dusty pressure canner (oh, how I remember how I scrimped and saved to buy it and how I borrowed mother-in-law’s until I could buy my own), dusted it off and drug it and a box of jars into the kitchen. On Saturday morning I plan to hit the farmer’s market and find something to can. I think it is high time that my youngest daughter learns to put up jams and jellies. I also will be digging out my blue ribbon winning pickled beets recipe and inviting a young wife and new mother from church (whose own mother lives in another state) over to can beets and enjoy a lovely lunch. I’m thankful for the reminder from my co-worker that canning is something I love to do for my family…even if it is a dead art!