The Art of Home Canning

Home Canning

Home Canning (Photo credit: renoir_girl)

Both my Grandmother and Grandfather grew up on farms. They are the salt of the earth. I grew up in their house and am blessed with many memories of backyard edible gardens, fresh honey from home made bee hives and a magic medicine cabinet complete with something in a glass jar called “salve”. I’m told it was an old recipe given to our family by Native Americans.

Every summer, my Grandma would harvest the fruits and vegetables from the garden. She would have a home canning jam session right there in her kitchen. She preserved fresh peaches, pears, jams, green beans, soups…you name it, she canned it. I know this made feeding her seven children healthy meals a lot easier. Tragically, I somehow never learned this skill from her.

While inspired by the idea of making fresh homemade jam as favors for my DIY wedding, I stumbled upon a very exciting book on Amazon.com titled the Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today. (Kingry, Judi and Lauren Devine. Complete Book of Home Preserving. Ontario, Canada: Robert Rose Inc., 2006.) I just received it in the mail today and I am very excited to get started. While it will in fact be too expensive to make jam for our wedding, I know canning is a skill I can actually use. Besides, how delightful is homemade jam?!

For the last couple of years, I have noticed that people are beginning to value wholesomeness again. There seems to be a trend among younger people toward moving back to the farm, returning to the garden and simplifying one’s life. I’m ready to become a part of this movement through the art of home preserving. My hope is to become at least half as comfortable with this process as my Grandma. And while I live in an apartment for the moment, you can bet that when I have a house, it will have an edible garden in the backyard and I’m going to bottle everything in it.