It has been cool. This is a good thing, as I have been doing a lot of canning lately.
I have learned one thing: I should only can the things that we enjoy eating. The logic of this amazingly obvious statement escapes me when I see the myriad fruits and cheap veggies at the local farm stand or –eeps– in my garden. It’ll be January and I realize I am the only person in the household who will eat canned beet greens.
I’ve learned something else, too. I tend to treat that which is rare as something that is really precious, and thus, not for eating. When I was a city gardener, I remember well my first crop of eggplant. I waited and waited for some sign that dang, I should pick and cook those things, and when that sign finally showed itself the eggplant was seedy and gross. I do this with some canned items, too. There are dilly beans down there from 2005. Eat them, I tell myself. And we have been. When things start getting going in the garden in May and June, it is also the Season For Emptying The Larder, whereby I cook everything in the freezer and pantry.
So! The kitchen is full of glass jars and big kettles at this time of year. We have a pressure canner, too. I have been putting away dried beans in it: making them cooked beans first, or soups. Oh, and vegetable stock. Can’t have enough of that. I am rather fortunate in that I work from home most days, so in between phone calls, emails and drawings, I am banging pots on the stove. The convenience of pulling a can of tomatoes and a can of beans and making a quick chili or pasta in the middle of winter makes it worthwhile. And, probably most importantly, I know where the food came from, and how it was prepared. And it’s quick, or at least it’s quick when they’re finished!