i love to can. and i'll tell you why.
canning has always been a way to save money, be thrifty, and a way to prevent waste - preserving garden produce that would other wise spoil before it was eaten - or, in other words, provident living. and i do love provident living. it seems to be in my genes.
today there are even more reasons to can, at least as i look at it. when i can, i have control over what goes into the jar - so there is no msg, no high fructose corn syrup, no articficial colorings or flavorings, no chemical preservatives. and i control the salt and the sugar content. i love that. and i am generally using my own home grown, organic, non gmo produce - hooray!
there is also a great deal of satisfaction that comes from making a dinner mostly from things i have canned myself - chicken, black beans, salsa for example. and a happy feeling when my kids prefer my applesauce over store-bought, and when they get excited about helping me with the process.
finally, it is a way of making cooking last. i like to do things that last, which is one of the reasons i love to cook and sew. i tend to not feel that way about making a birthday cake, or even a wonderful dinner. i work and work, and then it is eaten and gone. but with canning, i can see the rows of shiney jars on the shelves, and i know it will last...at least longer than tonight's dinner.
....oh, and i almost for got one of the most important reasons - it tastes better than store bought - delicious yumminess!
a sampling of this summer's canning:
roasted tomato sauce, dill pickles, pickled beets, french cut green beans, pickled banana peppers, and mandarin (or sweet & sour) sauce.
i hoped for bumper crops of green beans and tomatoes this summer, and we got them (to be honest, i prayed, and my prayers were answered). we followed the expert gardener in our neighborhood's advice, and never watered our garden once, even though it was hot and dry - not raining for a month and a half. he was right - it gave us an amazing tomato crop. i never imagined i could fill as many jars as i have. i've lost count, but it's much more than 100.
this summer i've canned (asterisk means it's a first time for me to can it):
*japlepeno jelly - we usually make crabapple jalepeno jelly, which we like even more, but we had huge amounts of jalepenos that were going to go bad, and our crab apples won't ripen until next month.
green beans - 46 quarts, all french cut
beets & pickled beets
*tomato juice with 5 vegetables (V5 juice)
*roasted tomato salsa
*roasted tomato sauce - base for pasta sauce and tomato soup
*sweet & dill pickle relish
*mandarin (sweet & sour) sauce - 21 quartes!
*pickled banana & jalepeno peppers
and i'm looking forward to canning:
green tomato salsa
green enchilada sauce
green tomato ketchup (?)
green toamto chutney (?)
last fall i looked for ways to use the huge amount of green tomatoes that we had, and now green tomato salsa is our family's favorite salsa we've ever had. it's amazing what you can find on the internet. the friend who recommended the sweet & sour (thank you!) also gave me the green enchilada sauce. i will report. and i am interested in green tomato ketchup and chutney recipes that i've found.
my two absolute favorite new canning recipes from this year are:
1 - roasted tomato sauce - lexi found this and recommened it. i can't say enough good about it - our house smells like an italian restaurant while it roasts with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic. here's a link:
(i love this girl's blog!)
2 - mandarin (or sweet & sour) sauce. a friend recommended this, and i am in love. i've made three batches for a total of 21 quarts. and each time i've made a batch, it perfectly filled 7 quart jars (the numer of jars that fill a canner). that never happens. it's the perfect recipe. here's a link:
i'm also enjoying this one, because we have a bumper crop of banana peppers. it is a little too sweet for me, next batch i make i will cut the sugar at least in half. but it is easy and fun (and very pretty). i added a few jalepenos into each jar i made. it's a very small recipe. i tripled it and filled 6 pint jars:
if you have favorite canning recipes, i'd love for you to share!