Dreaming of Canning

I have dreams of canning. I have dreams of having a beautiful garden and preserving tons of vegetables and fruits. I have dreams of my children eating our own abundant harvest year round. Of course it’s all organic and produced locally, right here. I guess right now it’s just a dream… I’ve had that dream for years. It was before I knew that I would even have kids, before I knew how to grow a vegetable, before I knew exactly what canning was. Yeah, I know compared to Martin Luther King, Jr., my dream is nothing. But, it’s my dream…

In 2009, I had enough tomatoes in my garden to can some tomato sauce. My darling mother-in-law, who has been canning since she’s two, most patiently guided me though it. I only had one child at the time. We went to her house one afternoon. I brought the crockpots right there. I brought my few jars. She painstakingly and patiently showed me the basic process. I have to brag on my mother-in-law here: she is a saint. She has been canning her whole life. She gave up her time, used her own equipment and step-by-step explained things to her obnoxious slow-to-catch-on-to-stuff-like-that Jersey girl daughter-in-law. So that was my introduction to canning.

2009, My very first canning experience…

I understand the process a little better now. I’ve read and studied. I’ve canned quite a few times by now. Did you know that I’m a cheapskate? My first on-my-own canning experience was born out of my cheapness. My husband Kevin likes to take peanut butter and jelly to work. He’s pretty picky and only likes grape jelly. I’m pretty picky and only buy the “fruit only” jelly. Most jelly has sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup in it. The “fruit only” jelly is close to $3.00 for a very small jar. It only lasts for a few sandwiches. We were spending a fortune on grape jelly. Inspired by this blog, I decided to attempt my own grape jelly. It worked! Can I tell you how much I was bragging on myself for making those two jars of grape jelly? Yeah, I did it all by myself! Well, it wasn’t the perfect grape jelly. I had used honey as a sweetener. Honey is delicious. It was raw and local to where I used to live in South Jersey, too. Honey has it’s own taste. Honey made the jelly taste less grapey, and well, honey-y. But, it was my first try.

And I succeeded. I have since canned a bunch more times, and I think at least I got the basics enough to share…
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