Monday, August 16, 2010

The Canning Life

I started canning last summer.  If you believe the mainstream media, this endeavor is enjoying a renaissance.  It seems a natural outgrowth of the trend in home edible gardens and the backlash against factory farming.  People want to know where their food comes from and what's in it.

Canning was something I had always wanted to learn and that I was exposed to peripherally, growing up.  I think my aunt was the big canner in our family. I lived with her for eighteen months in college and foolishly did not seize the moment to learn a thing or two.  My canning memories are of my mother, aunts, and grandma making and canning batches of mincemeat in my grandmother's kitchen.  I never developed a taste for mincemeat, but it was a favorite of their generations.  I don't know if ours was a proprietary recipe from my great grandmother's or where it came from or if anyone even still has it or any other family canning recipes.  I'll have to ask my mom about it sometime (though she reads this blog, so she'll be forewarned and ready to talk about it!)

I wish I had had the opportunity to know my great grandmother; she died before I was born.  It seems we shared many common interests including canning and quilting.  But I digress.  I don't think I appreciated a kitchen full of the women in my family working together on something so timeless.  I wish I could be a fly on the wall of that kitchen, circa 1976, today.

My other canning memory involves italian plums.  My grandparents had three mature italian plum trees in their yard.  The sweet, dark fruit matured every August.  One summer, I remember a friend of the family, a young man rented the studio apartment in the basement of my aunt's (formerly my great grandmother's) house.  He was a culinary student and he made the most sublime fruit butter out of the italian plums.  I've never forgotten the taste of that fruit butter and I'm going to try to re-create it later this month.

This officially kicks off canning week at suddenly sahm.  Look for a new post each day as my pantry goes from empty jars to full ones.  I love to give home canned treats as gifts.  People always seem to look like you just gave them candy.  In the meantime, here are some recent articles and sites that I look to for inspiration.

Anything you'd like to see posted here on canning week?  Fire away!

Food In Jars

recent article in the LA Times

recent article in the Seattle Times

Washington State Fruit Commission

Saving the Season

From the blogs above, note the links on their sidebars and you can go down the rabbit trail of the blogosphere and get lost in canning blogs.  See you tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. I know nothing about canning, so am looking forward to the learning experience!