I had a hot date with my hubby last night. It got pretty steamy and altogether messy. We canned tomatoes until the wee hours. It’s that time of year. Twenty pints of pizza sauce and nine quarts of tomato sauce. And still the tomatoes keep coming.
We’re taking a break and moving on to peaches today. Bought a huge bushel of seconds peaches ready and ripe. This weekend’s date will involve skinning the luscious beauties and squeezing the pits out of them before we cook them in to peachsauce (just like applesauce only peaches and no sugar!), peach Barbeque sauce, and maybe some peach jam or syrup. It will definitely get sticky.
Canning can be a solitary endeavor, but it’s much more fun with company and music (and some wine). Sometimes when I’m elbow deep in the mess I wonder why we do this. It would be so much easier to buy tomato sauce at the store. And even if the price of organic tomato sauce can be dear, I’m fairly sure my time is worth just as much.
Inspired by my son's excellent blog, How To Kill Your Characters, (It’s all manner of musings on Dungeons and Dragons on the surface, but underneath it’s pretty philosophical and just plain good writing. He puts me to shame.) which is filled with Top Ten Lists, I present:
The Top Ten Reasons why I can each summer:
1 Popping the lid off a jar of tomato sauce in the dead of winter returns summer if only for a meal. All the flavors of five different heirloom tomatoes in one jar is divine. No can from the store, no matter how exclusive and expensive the brand, can compare.
2 My youngest child considers homemade peachsauce such a special treat, he opts for it over all manner of junk food.
3 Instead of empty calories and chemicals in store bought pancake syrup, we slop on homemade blueberry syrup any time of year not just special occasions.
4 Once you grow accustomed to homemade applesauce it’s pretty much impossible to eat that mealy mush they sell at the grocery store.
5 I feel connected to my mother and grandmother and all the women before them as I “put up” healthy, homegrown food for my family.
6 I can’t stand to waste anything. And I can’t stick to one kind of tomato or cucumber. How else could I keep from throwing all the extras on the compost pile?
7 I like cherries, blueberries, and peaches too much to eat them only a few weeks a year and I can’t bring myself to buy (or pay the price for) produce shipped from the other side of the globe in the dead of winter.
8 It may consume my time in the summer, but it saves me time in shopping trips to the store the rest of the year. We always have sauces, fruits, veggies, and jams on hand year round.
9 I get incredible nerdy satisfaction from hearing the jar lids “pop”, writing the contents on the lids, and lining them up neatly on the shelf.
10 It’s one tiny step I can take toward living more self-sufficiently. If I had my way we’d live off the grid on the side of mountain, but thankfully (for my kids at least), I married a man who enjoys the marvels of modern conveniences. Although he makes a damn fine lumberjack, I must say.
I hope you’re inspired to get canning yourself! If you need some tips or ideas check out some previous posts
I'm a true believer in Living Intentionally. In fact, I wrote a book about it - Live Intentionally: 65 Challenges for a Healthier, Happier Life. I teach workshops on the topic and constantly seek to discover more ways to make every moment count.
I'm also a reluctantly busy mother of three remarkable children, one large partially-trained horse who seems to have a vested interest in unseating me, two bossy mares, an almost-daily changing number of chickens, one dog with impulse control issues but a sunny outlook, and 3 perfect kitties. I am blessed with an incredibly patient husband who can fix or build or tolerate almost anything. We live on 6 acres on a hillside in South Central Pennsylvania where anything left unattended ends up at the bottom in the creek (including the children).
I'm currently at work publishing a young adult novel (if you'd like to publish it, contact my agent Tina Schwartz at The Purcell Agency!!) and madly editing a memoir entitled, Cowboy Mom: How an Untrained Horse Taught Me to be a Better Parent and Person.
In my spare moments, I run, hike, cook, and drink much too much wine.