It’s August, a time of year when I become absolutely obsessed with canning, freezing, and dehydrating. That’s right, canning is not just for your Great Aunt Mabel, hip (or not) young (or not) people do it too! When we bought our house in 1999, we inherited a home-canner’s paradise in the way of fruit trees, vines, & shrubs. We had two blue concord grapes, a red concord grape, a white Niagara grape, rhubarb, raspberries, an apple tree and two cherry trees. My husband grew up on home-canned grape juice, so I decided to give it a try. Our first batch was canned in the dishwasher (don’t try this at home kids!) and was delicious! I have now graduated to a simple canning bath and for about $100 of equipment, jars, bands & lids, I can now put by enough jam and canned fruit that we don’t have to buy any all winter long! In recent years, I have taken out all but one of the original grapes, cut down a diseased cherry tree, added a sweet Muscat grape (not producing enough for wine, but makes an excellent white grape juice), and added a strawberry patch to the garden. I have also signed up for Monroe Organic Farm‘s CSA & fruit share, which means I’ve added peaches, plums, pears, and apricots to my canning repetoire. This year, I tried a new recipe for plums from Recipezaar.com that is so good I might have to buy another box of plums to make more. So, top 7 reasons I love canning:
- It’s one of the few things that ties me to my extended family’s traditions (my Aunt Amy makes the best pickles you’ve ever tasted and now I make them too!).
- It’s good for the environment because I don’t buy frozen or canned fruit that was trucked in using lots of fossil fuels.
- I have complete control of the ingredients from choosing individual fruits at peak ripeness to controlling the amount of sugar and salt.
- The stuff I can tastes so much better than store-bought and is fresher too.
- It’s organic without the sticker shock because organic produce is cheaper when it’s purchased in season.
- The look on Gabriel’s face when I feed him canned Colorado-grown peaches in mid-winter is worth the effort!
- And hey, I’m a foodie, so I’m always looking for unusual food-related hobbies to pick up!
If you’re interested in learning more about canning, this site will get you started. Jars and other supplies are frequently available (at least here in Boulder County) at your local thrift store! Happy Canning!