T
his 
isn’t about work. And it’s not really about mom-ing either. And it’s definitely not about wine.  This is something that I solely want to share just because I have a new found passion and want everyone to know about it.

I. Love. Canning. > ya know, the kind of canning with mason jars and a giant pot of boiling water… I brought it up at work the other day and the person literally had never heard of what I was talking about (insert eye-rolling emoji here).

Ryan and I put out a garden every year and I always shied away from preserving any of it because I didn’t know how and was honestly a little scared.

I thought that you had to use a pressure cooker all the time. And those things freaking things terrify me! What if they explode!? How do you know when the pressure is too much pressure!? People make bombs out of these things! How am I supposed to preserve food with them!?

Turns out I was a slight bit dramatic…You don’t have to use a pressure cooker for everything (just some things…look it up – it’s science), and even though the process of canning is somewhat exhausting, you feel so accomplished when you hear the little “pop!” of the lids, that you don’t even care about the exhaustion!

In years past, we have let some of the produce go to waste because we either:
A) couldn’t eat it fast enough
or
B) didn’t know what to do with it.

This literally drove me bonkers because it felt like such a waste! Not not mention giant slap in the face to Mother Nature. “Here Mother Nature, we’re going to grow this bountiful beautiful garden and then let it all die”…How rude!

But this year I was determined! We were going to grow our garden, eat the fresh veggies AND can more than just can tomato juice and salsa…AND WE DID.

During the summer harvest, we made: 16 quarts of tomato juice, 12 pints of spaghetti sauce, 12 pints of salsa, 10 pints of pickled hot peppers, 6 half-pints of pickled onions, 18 quarts of dill pickles, and 3 pints of Cowboy Candy (peppers in a sweet sauce – that is freaking amazing on a bagel with cream cheese.) – want the recipe? let me know in the comments below and I may be tempted to share ; ) 

Canning all the vegetables

I also put our dehydrator to good use. I dried cantaloupe as well as made my own sun-dried tomatoes…both were freaking ahhh-maze-balls. Seriously, the dried cantaloupe was like fruit candy.

Dehydrated cantaloupe...yum!
Dehydrated cantaloupe…it’s seriously so freaking delicious!

We’re now in the middle of our fall harvest and are STILL picking kale on a regular basis (it’s mid-November people!), we froze 4 quarts of broccoli, and are currently experimenting with 4 quarts of sauerkraut a.k.a. fermented cabbage. < I’ll let you know how this turns out, I’m a little scared because, ya know, botulism.

I can’t take all the credit. Meme, and my aunt helped to show me the ropes the first few times before I decided to take the plunge myself.

My first time alone, I canned a whole batch of pickles – it was every bit as nerve-racking as I’m making it sound…but at the end I was so proud of myself that I had to call Meme afterwards just to tell her I did it.

I’m not going to lie, there was a time when I would have thought this sort of thing was beneath me – maybe because it was too “country” or “Suzy-Homemaker” or whatever entitled reason(s) I may have held.

But the older I get (not that I’m “old”), I realize that going back to the basics really isn’t such a bad thing. I now have a skill set that can’t be taught by books alone, but has to be passed down by a teacher who has broken a few jars, learned from their mistakes, and kept on going not because they wanted to but because they had to.

For me, it’s the comfort in knowing that I don’t have to bring home a paycheck to take care of my family now. If something were to happen for whatever reason – God only knows – I would be able to feed my family all winter long just from the fruits of my labor – literally – throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall.

I don’t know where I’m going with this monologue, if there is any point to what I’ve said in the above at all. Mainly, I want to encourage you to learn something new. Go ahead and try your best at something that will humble you. You might be surprised to find you uncover a new passion.

Shelby

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