Yesterday I recounted how my friend Nina and I decided to can 40 lbs of tomatoes. When I left off, we had just realized how much time (and patience) this project required.
Nevertheless, we persevered. Once the crushed tomatoes had boiled, we started ladling them into our sterilized Mason jars (prepped with lemon juice to prevent evil bacteria from forming. Botulism is no joke).
Then came the fun part: lowering the filled jars back into the boiling water of the canning pot. This is what seals the jars and prevents more bacteria from forming.
After that, we let them all boil for 40 minutes while we maybe talked to them a little bit. Because they looked so cozy sitting together, and it can't hurt to encourage them.
However, by the time the sauce was ready, we had been at this canning project for 5 hours and I had plans for dinner. So courageous Nina finished the project on her own, documenting the final stages for posterity. We haven't counted the jars yet...but suffice it to say, we'll be eating a lot of tomatoes this winter.
|photo by Nina|
This adventure reminded me why canning is so special.
- First, you get to preserve the tastiest fruits and veggies from your garden (or your farmer's garden), to enjoy long into the winter.
- Second, it brings people together. My friend Emily first taught me how to can, before I'd started this blogging project and dedicated myself to testing out homesteading methods. We made a batch of strawberry jam, and by the end of the afternoon I was a goner. It seems to be one of those skills that people pass on to one another, through afternoons in the kitchen or community classes. It helps bring people together.
- Third, even if you can by yourself, you can give your gorgeous Mason jars as gifts (see holiday plans above).
- Fourth (you knew this was coming), it's one of the most practical ways of carrying on historical cooking methods.
Intrigued? Want to try it yourself? Emily's written an excellent guide to canning your own jam, and I suggest you check it out if you've never canned before and want to try it.