[Editor's note: This is the first in a series of essays by winners of our "Preserving Canning Wisdom" giveaway.]
When I first discovered canning, I felt that a part of my childhood had lacked something very crucial–putting away our abundance for another time. My great-grandmother canned but my grandmother and mother did not. I was determined that my kids would know the importance of keeping our pantry stocked. Not only is it important that they know how to stock a pantry, but also that with a few ingredients and no preservatives, you can have delicious items made with your own hands.
When I am canning, my children run to the kitchen to help me make jams, pickles and sauces. They are at the age now where they don’t want the mass-produced items because they do not taste as good as Mommy’s. My children are instrumental in the planting of and harvesting from our garden, and are eager to help me make purchases from local growers. They jump at the opportunity to do things like go strawberry picking–because they love strawberry jam.
We often share our canned items with others. Through giving, my children see first-hand the joy that comes from receiving a delicious jar of canned jam, relish, or pickles. It is a joy to know that this time-honored tradition will be kept alive by my children. I must say that I feel for my son’s as-yet-unknown future wife–I hope her mother is teaching her to can, because Smucker’s and Mott’s come in a distant second and third to the taste of home-canned jams and sauces.
CAA Contributor Kiva Slade cans in Upper Marlboro, MD. Read her blog at Farmstead Lady.