I love the satisfaction of lying in bed after an evening of canning produce, listening to the jar lids seal with their popping noise as I drift off to sleep. It is the sound of three season’s worth of work coming to an end. Hopeful spring: planting and caring for delicate shoots, looking over bushes and trees for winter’s damage. Summer’s toil in the heat: fending off bugs and animals, praying for rain but not too much rain. Then autumn’s harvest: a bounty that requires one to quickly capture the essence of flavours before they start to wane or spoil. The culmination of these efforts gleam from jewel-toned bottles sitting neatly on shelves, ready to bring back to mind the warmth of summer through a long, cold winter.
I like being able to open a jar of salsa and know exactly what is in it and where the produce was grown. I like turning fruit into sweet treats that can be shared with family and friends. I like the tangy aroma of a freshly opened jar of pickles ready to accompany a family dinner. I like packing fresh vegetables into jars or the pressure canner knowing I have a year’s worth of meal preparation half done for those busy days. For the even busier days, there are rows of soups and stews waiting only to be opened and enjoyed.
Some may ask, “Why go to all the effort and bother of canning? That’s what the grocery store is for, after all.” There is a lot of work and time that goes into it, I agree. But there is a joy and satisfaction that come from it as well. It is a craft, a time-honoured process that has been passed down from generation to generation. And like many skills that were once widely practiced, has fell by the wayside for many. Maybe it more than just preserving food in a house, and a little more about preserving the home. For me, food preservation is an outlet to combine my love of history, food, creativity, and frugality (along with satisfying my inner hoarder) in a challenging, orderly, and yummy fashion. Where else could you ever find something that covers all that?!
tomatoes ripening, and salsa verde cooking and canned