Farm to Table: Canning 101

I found this floor mat at Ross earlier this week, and just couldn’t resist. (I really did need a mat in front of my sink!) It combined so many things that represent our eating mission: organic, farm to table, and of course, chalkboard art is hard for me to pass up.

I’ve been rather surprised by my ardent love for canning, preserving, and harvesting.

Yesterday’s bushel of beans took me all day and certainly wasn’t terribly exciting, (think hours of picking, snipping, washing, chopping, filling, and canning) but those 17 quarts + 1 pint sitting on my counter this morning give me infinite pleasure. I consider them a bonus, as I was ready to call this year’s bean bounty “enough” at 45 pints. (I still have some left from last year)I do all the normal things like green beans, salsa, pizza sauce, corn, applesauce, and so on. I also like to change it up with a few out-of-the-ordinary things. Hot Pepper Rings (using banana peppers) was something new I tried last year, thanks to a friend giving us a pint to try and us loving them! Hot Pepper Jelly is a must now, too. (Notice a theme here? I have to plant lots of banana peppers to keep up) I also want to make some Blackberry Jam using berries from our little patch, possibly some Jalapeno Jelly, and a little more pesto to freeze. I’m hoping to get enough pumpkin/squash to can and freeze some for baby food.All these peppers were from one plant. 17 in one shot!

In order to get the best nutritious, chemical-free organic food, we grow everything we can. I don’t say that snobbishly, as sometimes people can take “only eating organic” that way. I see it as a small way I can contribute to the health of my family. It is a LOT of work, but well worth it.

And you can’t beat that cheap thrill of seeing those once-empty jars all lined up neatly on shelves — FULL!

How about you — do you enjoy preserving? What new things have you tried?

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5 thoughts on “Farm to Table: Canning 101

  1. I love canning! It is hard work and sometimes at the beginning of the day I really don’t even feel like doing it but once you have a freezer and shelves full of preserved food it is such a good feeling. Totally worth it.

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  2. I agree with Carmie on this.
    My mom is a canning fanatic… she cans everything, and I do mean everything. I never took interest or really wanted to learn. But when I got married things started to change. The first thing I ever canned was hot peppers, and it was surprisingly easy. Since then I’ve branched out to tomato products like juice, sauce, BBQ, and Italian diced tomatoes, pears and other fruit, black beans, chicken, and so on. I can’t really say that the process excites me, but I certainly do love the satisfaction of pulling home-canned jars off the shelf to prepare a meal. That’s what motivates me to see it through.

    I just picked a whole bunch of cucumbers from my garden, which means I should be making pickles instead of leaving comments on fun blog posts. 🙂

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    1. It’s fun to hear what you preserve! Italian diced tomatoes sound interesting — care to expound on what they are? I haven’t tackled meat yet. For some reason, it sorta intimidates me! Happy pickle making 🙂

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      1. I dice tomatoes then season them with Italian seasoning and fresh garlic cloves. I love pulling jars off the shelf to makes like chili and other soups. It adds a lot of flavor and texture to any dish.

        Meat intimidates me too, which is why I typically do it with my mom, the canning expert. 😉

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