Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Preserving the Harvest

I am not one to rhapsodize about the joys of canning. I did too much standing over a hot stove as a kid. Ours was a household that "put food up" out of necessity. When you do it to have food on the table (for up to 8 or 9 people) it can be grueling work. No air conditioning then and hours of cleaning produce, sterilizing jars and canning all day and into the night. We never went without food though and that made it worthwhile. After years of not canning anything I am ready to do a little bit more canning and preserving. This year, our small garden has been very productive and one of the few things I prefer to can is beans. These are yellow wax beans, Earl's favorites. After eating all we could fresh, I just couldn't bear to let the rest go to waste. We have just planted some green beans that I hope will have enough time to mature and can later.
Home canned beans aren't mushy or tinny. Sometimes I even pickle them and they are so good! It is a different chore altogether when it isn't something you "have" to do. I am planning some jams and sauces. We have jalepenos growing and I plan to can some salsas and relishes. Small batches that I can have fun with are key for me to enjoy this season. If you want to try your hand at canning, the Ball Blue Book is essential. It isn't hard to get good results and they have some fascinating recipes. For instance, how would you like glowing jars of Grapefruit Marmalade, Almond Pears, or Caramel Spice Apple Butter? I have the 1995 edition. I'm not sure if they carry the same recipes year to year. Are you a canner? What is your favorite thing to put up in a jar?
Edited to add: If you receive a note in your mailbox asking you to go see a photo I have uploaded at don't open it! I made the mistake of opening it yesterday when I recognized the name of another blogger on it and it spams your contacts! I am so sorry if this has happened to you but I have NOT downloaded anything to dailyflog and I'm darn mad about their lying spam!


  1. My favorite thing to make is jam. It's like a little taste of summer all winter long. AND the taste of homemade jam does not compare to store bought. I love to see the little jars all lined up on the pantry shelves like jewels in a jewelry box. They make great gifts too. Mimi

  2. This summer I have been so jealous of all the gardens and canning. My lot is just too shady.

    You will surely be enjoying your yummy food in the winter. :)

  3. Hi Kathy, that row of canned beans is beautiful...sure brought back a lot of memories. When our kids were small, I did a lot of canning....I really do know what you mean about hot hard work. grin! But I don't know as I've done anything so rewarding...Like you, I would look at what I had canned that day and feel so good.
    I miss the old ways. Rock on..great picture....

  4. Your green beans look delicious! I have a tree full of crabapples just waiting to be put into a jelly. :o)
    Sincerely ~ Tricia Anne

  5. I like doing the easy stuff. Green beans, tomato sauce, fruit butters, peaches and pears.

    The fruit is more work, but the taste is so superior and the whole family helps, so I continue to do it. The girls won't eat canned peaches or pears from the store so it has become the only option for us.

    Your wax beans are really pretty! The green ones just aren't as colorful when they're canned.

  6. Have I ever told you about our cellar? When we moved in it was full of old jars, canned who knows how many years ago. Is there a shelf life on canned goods...twenty, thirty years? LOL!

  7. I did get a dailyflog email yesterday but I just deleted it without opening it. Glad I did!

    Those jars looks so beautiful! I have tons of tomatoes this year so I think I'll try sauce. Usually I cut up tomatoes and freeze them.


  8. Hi Kathy, My favorite thing to do is make strawberry jam. I don't have a garden space big enough to grow anything but some green beans and a couple of tomato plants.

    Your jars of yellow wax beans look delicious. Lucky Earl. I can't wait to see the rest of the things you do with your tomatoes.

    Love, Debbi

  9. Those beans look yummy!! I have never canned. My Mom and Grandma did when I was growing up. I have all of my Mom's old canning books. Someday I hope to have a garden large enough to be able to can.

    I got that email, but I didn't open it up. I didn't see and dailyflog thingy on your blog so I figured it was a hoax...

  10. Your canned beans look fabulous! Not only delicious looking, but very pretty!

    I am not a canner, however I do like being the lucky recipient of some jams and foods.

    Thanks for the info on the spammers. Boils my blood it does!


  11. Hi Kathy, it's been a long time, so how are you these days? I have canned some too (mostly peaches with brandy - YUM! especially on ice cream!) Your beans looks wonderful!
    Have a great week,

  12. I would love to try canning but I'm always afraid I'll kill the family with some sort of food poisening....I do on occasion make jar at a time...and keep it refrigerated...I'm okay with that....your waxed beans look very good,.,..

  13. they look wonderful! I've NEVER done canning! My mom did for fun...but like you she was FORCED to do it out of necessity as a kid and never wanted to stand over a boiling stove again!
    Just think how nice it'll be this winter to pop one of those jars open and taste the fresh!

  14. Hi Kathy
    Don't worry about that photo thing. I recognized it as being suspicious, so I just deleted it. Hope it didn't cause too much hassle for others.
    Hugs, Rhondi

  15. o, how pretty these will so enjoy them in the wintertime. Ummm...I am wanting to make some more jellies and jams..the fruit is so good this year.
    Please come over when you have time..I have your little name in a post...:)

  16. i made peach jam last month:) i would love to make sweet pickles. do you have a good sweet pickle recipe? i would love it. i think they are called bread and butter pickles.

  17. I have been putting up veges. I know they will taste so good this winter...m..

  18. Your beans look wonderful! I enjoy the jam-making in the early summer and also the making of salsa late summer...both are used for our family and also to give gifts at Christmastime which makes it all even more enjoyable!

  19. Oh Kathy I love to can.....
    anything I can get my hands on.
    my least favorite would be sweet corn. {maybe because we did well over 200 pints last year.}
    Oh but it is so wonderful in the middle of winter to pop open a taste fresh off the cob!

    The ball blue book is my canning bible!
    I love the butters {except the strawberry butter {not good}
    The spiced peach and caramel apple butters are our favorites!
    The zesty salsa pg 81 is wonderful,
    as is the pickled veggies pg 79.
    When I try a recipe I write in the book if its a success or a don't try again!

    Its green bean time up here so I am getting ready to start canning them soon!
    I have zuchinni coming out my ears...oh what to do with all of them?
    Know any great recipes using zuchinni???

    It is so rewarding knowing you are feeding your family fruits and veggies grown without pesticides and junk....
    PLUS I love the pantry shelves lined with beautiful jars of colorful veggies and fruits!

    Wish we lived closer we would have so much fun canning together!


  20. I'm ashamed of myself!
    I come from a canning family and I didn't inherit the gene.
    I think those pickled beans would be soooo good. All pickled veggies are good...especially asparagus.
    Love your photo!

  21. Hi Kathy,

    I am going to can the many, many tomatoes we have this year! Your beans look delish...




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