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Getting Over My Canning Fear

My confession: I've had a horrible fear of canning.  Thoughts of infecting my entire family with botulism tumbled around in my head.

But I knew that if I really wanted to get good at this self-sufficiency business, I'd have to get over my fear.  I took it in baby steps.

Last summer, I bought a Ball Blue Book of Canning.  It's considered the gold standard of canning books.  I read it, and read it, and read it some more, just to get comfortable with the process.

Come Christmas-time, I asked for a pressure cooker so that I could can veggies and the like.  It has sat, unused, in the cupboard.

Until last week.

I had bought a half-flat of cherries at the little fruit stand a few miles from my house for just $8.  We ate a bunch, but I knew even my teenaged son couldn't pack away all those cherries.  So, I finally took the bull by the horns, grabbed my canning jars and got to work.  I made cherry jam.

It wasn't that hard.

We ate it and we're still alive.

I tell you, it was liberating.  I was so pleased, the next day I took the kids out to pick mulberries off the neighbor's tree that hangs liberally into our yard.  We made mulberry jam (not all that great, but OK.)

Excited, we went back to the little fruit stand and bought a half-flat of strawberries.  The strawberry jam was by far the best tasting (and best looking.)

I'm pleased looking at the jewel-like jars glistening in the pantry, knowing we won't have to buy jam for a long while.  Eighteen jars of jam cost about $8.  That's cool.

I'm already eyeballing the apricot tree, dripping with nearly ripe fruit.  Apricot preserves sound fabulous.  I'm even looking forward to getting tomatoes put up this summer.

Maybe I'm not doing so badly at this whole self-reliance thing after all.

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