Thursday, July 29, 2010

Keeping myself busy...

For most of my life, I have known someone that canned, creating preserved goodness in large batches and putting them up for later use or gifts in pints and quarts. I have always been interested in it. Partially due to my pathological desire to figure out things that I don't know much about, especially things that have been around for a long time (I am a historian, I can't help it), but mostly because I love food....FOOD! Numminess! The number one reason why I will NEVER ever be my teeny tiny pre-pregnancy size 6 again. (Number two is because my baby-morphed body laughs at me everytime I think about buying clothes smaller than size 12 EVER again.) Um, anyhow...

A few years ago, my step-mom starting canning again (she grew up doing it) as something to do while my dad was gone and to be more in control of what goes into the food that they eat. Everytime we saw them or received a package from them there was always a gift of canned goodies.

Then we moved into the deep south...

Holy moly EVERYONE cans, especially people with gardens, which is probably 60% of the population of Hometown, MS.

I now get canned goods from my MiL, SG's Mamaw, HillBilly Neighbor, kids' friends' parents, etc.

My cabinet now has a 60/40 ratio of homemade to store bought canned food.

I think that's pretty darned cool!

When we moved here, I decided to start a garden. I <3<3<3 tomatoes and peppers and would eat them everyday if they were available...and now they are, woot! My parents decided that between the garden and our plethora of local farmers that they were going get me started canning. Which is good, because last week alone I ended up with nearly 40lbs of veg from multiple sources. I even used it all, before the parents got here with my canning starter kit, heh. I had a few jars and lids that I got as gifts (with food in them) that I decided to practice pickling peppers. My brother asked me to send some with step-mom since he was going there to visit. My very first attempt at canning yielded 1 and 3/4 pints of pickled jalapenos and banana peppers from my garden.

It was beautiful.

I think I am now addicted

Yesterday the little boys and I made Blueberry Banana Jam.
3 quarts of fresh blueberries
2 mashed bananas
1 lime: pulp and juice (I sliced the peel and boiled it with the fruit to get more flavor and pectin from the pith)
3 cups of raw sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
(The original recipe didn't call for pectin, but so far, its more like a thick chunky syrup than jam, so I may add some next time I make it)
Yields 5 pints

The Bubba picking stems and sorting out the icky berries

The Happy Camper mashing 1/2 the berries.
Such concentration for the little one!
<3 this baby.
Holy teamwork, Batmom!
They're actually working TOGETHER!

Before cooking down.
Jar-ready, steamy goodness.


This is Mamaw's, I put her jam in one of her own jars so I could return it to her...good idea, huh?

We had some BananaBerry nummies on our fluffy pancakes this morning, it was sooooo tasty!

And on tomorrow's schedule?

Peach Melba Jam.

The fruit is currently macerating in between layers of raw sugar.



Donna said...

Strong work! It's nice to know that in some places, canning never went out of style. I just wish I could have a garden that produces enough to can, but the chips are stacked against me: ledge, chipmunks, rabbits, not enough water, and so on. I settle for a roof garden, in pots, which does OK for itself.

kathryn said...

Yowsa! You're like a pioneer woman, or something! Kudos to you and those two gorgeous boys for all your hard work.

I can't believe this is the 2nd post I've read about canning! If you don't already know, you should stop by and say "hey". I think you two have a lot in common!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I've never canned! I think it would be so much fun and memorable!

Frugal Vicki said...

Oh yum! And how much fun to do with your kids!