Many things in farm life come with orange warning labels, frankly
One thing about canning? You find out what you will eat, usually about a year after you put it away.
It’s crazy canning* season here, and I have been a good girl and have actually cleaned out shelves before I have added more things to them. (Really, I kid myself that I am an organized individual, someone who thrives on order and tidiness. What is closer to the truth is I am an organized individual if I allow myself the time to be one.) So. One look at the shelves says this about our consumption: 1. I put away way too many jars of vegetable stock and 2. nobody including myself really wants to eat canned beet greens and 3. how in the world did I ever think we could eat all that jam?
I will say it’s wonderful walking downstairs to the basement and seeing those sagging shelves. It is so very gratifying. The feeling of panic that I have when I enter the garden (panic that says “you better preserve this, now”) is eased when I see the rows of canned goods: I am getting there, I think.
There are a couple of things I did not can enough of. There is no way one can ever put up enough applesauce. Do you know how versatile that stuff is? My latest use-it-up recipe is applesauce cake, with blueberries. I also did not can enough meat soups, but then again, I was a vegetarian when it was high canning season last year, and this is the first year of The Meat Bird on the farm (and 15 meat chickens are running around outside now) so there’s still time. I never can put away enough dried beans. Another very versatile thing, beans. And I have discovered the truism of one’s bank statement has a canning parallel in jars of tomato sauce: you will spend, or eat, all that you have if you don’t watch it.
There are dangerous things that I can: canned peaches, for example. These are no good at all. I will eat a whole jar myself, whether it’s a half pint, pint or quart.
And there’s another thing I have discovered, now that we’re entering season #4 of farm food preservation. It’s great to do basic stuff; in fact, it’s imperative to have simple cans of tomato sauce and juice, simple pickles and fruit down there. But it’s even better to do special stuff, really out-of-the-ordinary stuff, like peach chutney or corn/black bean salsa, ratatouille or pickled red onions. Oh and roasted garlic jelly, or pear mincemeat.
Anyway, if you are considering canning, start slowly. By season #4 your little hobby might become an obsession, and you will see gleaming mason jars in your dreams.
*I mostly mean pressure canning. I don’t really bother with the boiling-water bath canner much, except when I am making massive amounts of jam.