Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Botulism? Not me!
For years upon years upon an unreal number of years I have wanted to learn to can fruits and veggies. Something deep and dark in my psyche would awaken in late summer and grumble through the fall, angered that I wasn’t putting up food for the long winter months ahead. I have no idea where this came from, my mom doesn’t can, my grandmas didn’t can…basically, I come from a long line of “I have to cook?” women (I include myself in this; I don’t like to cook if I’m hungry). Don’t get me wrong (mom, looking at you here!), my mom can cook and cook well. But it was never a big thing and I’m certain she has never preserved a thing in her life other than freezing spaghetti sauce. She used to freeze sauce and overnight it to me in college. Sniff…that’s love. Her mom was known for three foods: bologna salad, baked rigatoni, and corned beef and cabbage. When we’d visit my dad’s mom we’d eat BLTs and freezer pickles. Not much in the way of a food heritage. So I have no idea where I picked up the notion of canning, keeping a full backup freezer, drying foods, and having a basement pantry.
We make it through snowstorms very well, thank you.
This summer two friends have taken turns teaching me how to can. One taught me hot water canning and the other taught me pressure canning. And I wonder now what I was so afraid of! I never learned because I was afraid I’d poison my family and waste the food. But it is a piece of cake. Peach cake. Because I have a crapton of peaches.
Last night I put up four pints of peach preserves. Today my friend and I put up seven quarts of peaches in apple juice and four pints of peach chutney. I also made two quarts of peach/apple nectar. Last week I put up several pints of strawberry/rhubarb fruit spread, four pints of peach “honey,” and four pints of rhubarb marmalade (this recipe was the find of my life! Killer marmalade and I’m making more this weekend. God knows Roger the Rhubarb Plant Hell-Bent on World Domination is large enough for more pints).
And I’m just getting started. I have more fruit coming from our CSA, and the boys are clamoring to pick apples this fall. Apple butter and applesauce and peach butter and pear butter and more rhubarb and and and…
I can shut up now. I have put up.