Farm-Fresh, Simple, Effective Skin Care -- Handmade by YOU!

Getting Some Canning Help

The summer of 2011 will forever go down in my personal history as the summer of canning.  My first attempt was a batch of cherry jam (you can see that attempt here.)  It wasn't that pretty or tasty, but it was good enough success to give me the courage to try again.

Since that day in June, I've been a mad-canner.  I've done strawberry, mulberry, apricot, and apricot-pineapple jam; I've pickled peppers, zucchini and patty pan squash.  I've made zucchini relish, jalapenos in oil, and whole mulberries.

I canned so many jars of food from our garden, I ran out of storage space in my pantry.  It forced me to clean out the closet by the back door to make room for more of those pretty, jewel-like jars where I can admire them any time I wish.   

Feeling very confident in my canning abilities, I decided to bust out the pressure cooker and try my hand at low-acid foods.  Corn was the first on my list.  Botulism still scares me, so I made sure to follow the directions in Ball's Blue Book exactly.  I was so pleased with the corn, I pressure-canned some chiles too, dreaming of the Spanish rice and enchiladas they would someday flavor.

The chiles lost nearly all of their water during processing.  I have no idea if this is a normal occurrence or if I did something wrong.  Then, I noticed several jars of my corn had lost their seals and spoiled.  I was feeling rather dejected at this point.  It had taken me the better part of a day to get those jars of corn put up.

But, as the saying goes, when the student is ready a teacher appears.

I was complaining about my latest canning disasters to the girl who comes out to trim my horses' hooves (trapped beneath the legs of a thousand pound animal, she is a captive audience.  I can talk about anything and she physically can't leave.  For the mother of children who regularly wander away when I'm in the midst of a rather stirring lecture, this is a situation I do my best to take advantage of.)

So, she offered up the wisdom of her mother, literally.  Apparently, her mother has been a canner extraordinaire for years.  I was invited to come to her house to watch her put up tomatoes this weekend.  Her mother even advised me to bring a bunch of jars and goodies from the garden and she'd show me how to do it up right.

I'm thinking tomatoes.  Or maybe green beans.

I am really excited to get some good advice from someone experienced.  There really is only so much you can learn from a book.  In exchange, I'm going to teach her how to make natural skin care products.

That's cool.  I love to barter.  Wouldn't it be great if more people could get what they need in this way?

Grow, tomatoes, grow!  I've got visions of home-canned pasta sauce in my head. 


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