Ok, so I’m not actually a doomsday prepper, nor do I believe that on some random date with a lot of 1’s & 2’s, is the world going to end. Zombies are probably not coming and most likely aliens aren’t either. The Mayans didn’t know everything, although neither do we. Regardless of all of that, I’ll say it again, I’m not a prepper, but I am a canner, among other things, and I have been for a number of years for various different reasons – none of which involve doomsday. I’m also a stay-at-home mom to two great kids, a photographer for Living In Chester County PA and of course, the finder of the remote, lost shoes, tae kwon do uniforms and various other not-really-missing objects. In my spare time, I love doing laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning and taking long walks on the beach. I also have an amazing fiance who has also been one of my best friends for the last thirteen years. He puts up with a lot from me, including my at times, obsession with canning.
My latest obsession started when the world of low-acid food and meats opened up to me with my new pressure canner.
Up until mid August, when my dear Frank got me the pressure canner of my dreams for my birthday, I had been relegated to the world of water bath canning, which limited me to high acid foods like tomatoes, jams and jellies. Opening this door was pretty much like opening the flood gates and I’ve rarely done any water bath canning since. I’ve had mostly a lot of success with this pressure canning method, as well as a few less-than-successful endeavors, but overall, in memory of my childhood days of canning with Gramma, I can say that it’s been enjoyable nonetheless.
As I do live right in the heart of Chester County, on the outskirts of West Chester, I have a lot of options as to where to go for fresh, local fruits and vegetables. My two favorite stops on a Saturday morning are the West Chester Growers Market and Pete’s Produce Farm. There are a number of other places right here in Chester County as well, and they are all wonderful. Unfortunately, because we live in a town home development, we are subject to the rules of the HOA, which of course, are not all that garden friendly. It seems they don’t like having their yards dug up in favor of supporting local growing initiatives, but that’s another gripe for another time. I did the best I could this summer in my container garden and got a lot of great tomatoes and a few peppers from which I was able to put up several jars of tomatoes and tomato sauce.
One of the best things about canning, probably my favorite thing, is how, going back to the “old times”, as my nine year-old daughter says, and slower way of doing things can still bring people together. This summer, my new pressure canner sailed its maiden voyage with my kids and future mother-in-law helping.
Of course, one of my kids is more interested in helping than the other. My four year-old is just interested in eating the finished product. It must be a habit he gets from me, we are both content with eating green beans direct from the jar.
I’m going to do more canning this weekend and a BIG pot of vegetable stew is on my list of things to do. Canning can be really fun and easy, and a great way to preserve the fresh foods of the summer to enjoy all winter long. Stay posted for a step by step, yummy stew recipe and how-to on canning it properly. In the mean time, go to the Ball canning site for some get-started tips and recipes. Thanks for reading!!