Sunday, August 30, 2009

Preserving the Harvest

Putting food by is the antidote for running scared.
Janet Greene

It's canning day tomorrow!  Canning has become a past time in my household.  Each year, the vegetables are harvested, preserved, and enjoyed.  Salsa and tomatoes, sweet relish and pickles, green beans and tomato sauce, and something new, maybe ketchup or mint jelly.

Starting at a young age, my nieces gathered at my home, sometimes one, sometimes all, dicing and slicing, scalding and peeling, jarring and canning.  When making tomato sauce, they flocked to my house, fighting over who could crank the juicer next.  (No lie!) 

They have learned the pleasure of canning.  When you can, you gather to celebrate the harvest.  It is a time of reconnecting, working together, and enjoying this shared time.  When we are preserving the harvest, the kitchen is filled with chatting and laughing.

Putting food by or preserving food is the antidote for running scared.  Not only does it save money (so your cupboard isn't bear in winter), it brings family and friends together, to talk and help each other sort through the many complexities of life.  Your loved ones help ease the fear of everyday problems, so you won't be running scared.

Money Savings

Canning really does save money. According to Thomas Bewick, national program leader for horticulture of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, for tomatoes, “If you harvest 30 pounds at $2 per pound, that plant is worth $60,” he says. “But it only cost $2.90 to buy the plant, a few cents for water and 15 cents for the fertilizer.”

The initial investment for jars and canning supplies may seem a little expensive, but they will last you for years.  You can find these canning items at your mom's basement collecting dust, a local hardware store, grocery store, garage sale, flea market, or department store, such as K-Mart.  I'll usually load up on lids at the end of the season when they go on sale.  Also, let others know that you are canning and looking for jars.  My family has contributed boxes and boxes (and more boxes) of jars.  For the preserved gifts that we give, I ask them to return the jars after they have enjoyed whatever is in the jar.

Here is our canning cabinet.  My husband's goal is to can 50 pints of green beans.  So far, he's up to 42 pints.  Doesn't it look pretty?  And it saved us $$.  He also have made relish, jam, and pickles.  I made the salsa.  (He's a self-employeed carpenter, so you can guess how busy he is right now.)  Tomorrow I'll be canning more salsa and tomatoes.  If someone stops by to help, I might even try making some zucchini pickles.  (Hey Jill - where's my zucchini bread you promised to make me from all the zucchini I gave you?)

Easy Recipe

This is a great recipe to make on canning day, when you are too busy to cook a meal, and your stove has canning pots boiling away. You just throw it in the crock pot, and let it cook all day long.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle root beer
1 (18 ounce) bottle your favorite barbecue sauce
8 hamburger buns

Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker; pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily, 6 to 7 hours. Note: the actual length of time may vary according to individual slow cooker. Drain well. Stir in barbecue sauce. Serve over hamburger buns.

Aunt Janet's Famous Quotes

This is a new one, never quoted before.  "I will share my salsa or pickles with whoever helps.  So, get your butt over here, and start chopping."  I enjoy your company, and desperately need your help! 

All are welcome to help,
Aunt Janet

1 comment:

  1. root beer eh, never heard of this - do you make your own (little giggle)? - have to try this, peace


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