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Preserving Canning Wisdom

Preserving Canning Wisdom: Diana From Washington

[Editor's note: This one in a series of essays by winners of our "Preserving Canning Wisdom" giveaway.]

Photo by cafemama

Photo by cafemama

I am a member of a federally recognized Native American Reservation in Northwest Washington. On the reservation is a residential school for youth. The students get to direct their experiences and have recently asked to have a canning class to make use of all the blackberries that have taken over the woods near the school. Talk about local and community-driven! The students want to use the jam in the wintertime when berries are just a memory in the gray and rain that make up our landscape. I am happy to help make things happen for them and share the process of putting summer in a jar.

CAA Contributor Diana Bob cans in Bellingham, WA.

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Preserving Canning Wisdom: Kimberly From Washington

[Editor's note: This one in a series of essays by winners of our "Preserving Canning Wisdom" giveaway.]

Photo by Kimberly McKittrick

Photo by Kimberly McKittrick

Growing up with siblings is an experience, to say the least. When the age gap is close to 15 years, and you’re the oldest, you develop the special bond of watching your younger sibling grow up. When he was 10 years old, my younger brother decided he wanted to help me can strawberry jam. He squished the strawberries with a grip that only young boys have. As he did so, he looked at me with delight and amazement. I took sisterly pride in his sense of accomplishment when he put jam on the toast. He was grinning ear to ear and so was I!

CAA Contributor Kimberly Leinstock cans in Gig Harbor, WA.

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Preserving Canning Wisdom: Leslie From Illinois

[Editor's note: This one in a series of essays by winners of our "Preserving Canning Wisdom" giveaway.]

Photo by Amy Artisan

Photo by Amy Artisan

I have started canning as a new tradition for our family.  In the spring we started with making violet jelly.  My children have had so much fun with the whole process.  First they gather lots and lots of violets.  They we make the jelly.  The whole alchemy of turning violets into jelly thrilled them!  Then we moved on to grape jelly.  And now, we are making applesauce.  Of course, they no longer want store-bought versions.  I think there is no better way to bond with children than through their stomachs!

CAA Contributor Leslie Postin cans in Canton, IL.  You can read her blog at Comfrey Cottages.

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Preserving Canning Wisdom: Kathi from Washington

[Editor's note: This one in a series of essays by winners of our "Preserving Canning Wisdom" giveaway.]

Photo by Lelonopo

Photo by Lelonopo

The best way to convey the arts of preservation are to live them. My kids have watched me can (and dry, freeze, pickle…) food since before they could talk. This is just the way it is. In our house, it’s not something amazing or weird or magical. We grow food in our yard and we don’t waste any of it. This is how I was raised and how my mother and grandmother were raised before me.

Now that my mom and grandmother are both gone, it’s more meaningful to me to “put by” (as my grandmother used to say). My oldest is old enough to handle a knife, so he gets more responsibility in the process. And, for now, my youngest’s main involvement is to eat the half-sour pickles that he loves so much. He has a pickle dance, that we make him do every day, to earn his pickle.

CAA Contributor Kathi Jenness lives in Renton, Washington. Read her blog at Rocky is a Sick Raccoon.

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Preserving Canning Wisdom: Patricia From California

[Editor's note: This one in a series of essays by winners of our "Preserving Canning Wisdom" giveaway.]

Photo by Chiot's Run

Photo by Chiot's Run

I first learned to can when I was about eight years old back in Texas. Four generations of women–my Great-Grandma, Grandma, Aunt Katie, Cousin Lisa, Mom, and I–would gather together in my Grandma’s kitchen to can the freshly picked bounty of Grandma’s garden.

Grandma lived in the country and she grew the most wonderful vegetables in her garden. I remember as a little girl wandering through row after row of corn, lettuce, okra, beans, tomatoes, onions, squash, carrots, potatoes, beets, and more. What fun it was to stop and pick a bean or a fresh tomato and eat it right off the vine!

I remember a particular day when we canned green beans, peaches, and tomatoes. My jobs included snapping the green beans and peeling and pitting the peaches. I also had the task of stirring the jam. Because I was so small, I stood on a stool in order to reach the stove so I could stir the jam. Grandma cautioned me not to let the mixture stick or the sugar would burn during the rolling boil. It was the best of days learning from all those great southern ladies.

Sadly, those first two generations have passed on–leaving my mother and me to teach my daughter this lost art. My daughter’s favorite thing to can (and eat) is strawberry jam. I so enjoy sharing this precious family tradition with my daughter so she will be able to teach the next generation.

It is so wonderful on a cold winter day to open a jar of home-canned vegetables or preserves. Opening a home-canned jar is like getting a double dose of joy: eating a wonderful treat and remembering the days of canning in the kitchen with family.

CAA Contributor Patricia Cogliandro cans in San Jose, California.

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Preserving Canning Wisdom: Kiva From Maryland

[Editor's note: This is the first in a series of essays by winners of our "Preserving Canning Wisdom" giveaway.]

3882473918_d70f489be0When 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.

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