In between PT, Remicade infusions, nerve blocks, medical research, and attempting to keep my house clean (note to self: that lovely pair of clean panties you have on? It’s your last. DO LAUNDRY.) and food in my fridge, I’ve been canning up a storm. I’ve been joking that I’m just embracing my Southern roots, as I am, after all, a Kentucky girl born and raised, but what it really comes down to? Canning is imminently satisfying. There’s something to it- the hours of chopping, dicing, cooking, boiling jars and lids, preparing things in massive batches, then it all comes together when you fill the jars, lid them, and place them in the boiling water bath to seal them.
When you can, the lids have 2 pieces- a thin metal circle with a rubber ring on the bottom, and a screw on portion that holds the actual lid piece on during the sealing process. The screw on part has no real purpose than to hold the inner lid in place while the seal forms. So when you screw on the outer ring, you make it “finger tip tight”. This allows the super heated air between the top of the canned food and the lid to escape, but then when what air remains begins to cool, it shrinks and sucks the lid down onto the jar, creating the seal. So the seal actual happens after the jars are out of the water, and it makes such a lovely POP when they seal.
That POP is so imminently satisfying. Knowing that all your hard work paid off, that you’ll have lovely, organic, locally grown produce, sauces, etc, to enjoy all winter long, satisfies some primal part of the brain and despite the crazy mess that is now your kitchen, everything is right with the world.
Approximate list of what I’ve done so far this year (quite a bit has been shared with friends/family):
- 17 pints of pizza sauce
- 6 pints of salsa
- 9 pints of Strawberry-blueberry-pom jam (insanely delicious, BTW)
- 2 liters of whole tomatoes
- 6 pints of pears
The berries were store bought, though organic, and the pears came from a co-worker of my fathers who grew them in his back yard. Ironically, despite having enough pears in my house for another 6-10 pints of the things, I hate pears. With a vengeance. Have since I was a small child. BUT, my mother, who is a huge part of my medical care, loves them. And since she’s borderline diabetic, she tries to avoid canned fruits due to the syrups and juices. But you can can pears in water, so I cooked and canned the pears in a water/honey/lemon mixture that was 1 gallon of water, 1 teaspoon of honey, and half a teaspoon of lemon juice (helps discoloration). That will keep the pears nice and delicious without the sugar boost.
I must say, though, that I’m looking forward to the end of canning season. I’d like my kitchen back now, please. I’ve been sticking to using as much dishwasher safe gear as possible, but I’m still wearing myself out doing all of this. There have been no spoons for other cleaning, house work, etc. And when the burning gets bad in my feet, not walking is the only thing that helps half the time. Obviously, standing on a tile floor can hurt. I need to find one of those ultra-squishy kitchen mats to stand on… Hmmm… Off to go shopping on Amazon!