Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Growing Interest in Canning

I made applesauce this year from the freshly picked apples that we gathered over the weekend from a local orchard. This is something that I do every year, and isn't terribly remarkable in, and of, itself. I don't have a recipe for applesauce which I follow, but rather each year just make what moves me and add the ingredients that seem right at the time. Until this year, I've never had a complaint. Then again, this year's complaint came from a two-year-old who complains about everything, so I'm not taking it to heart. :)

The difference was that this year, rather than eating nothing but apples for two weeks straight as we usually do (think applesauce, apple pie, apple crumble, pork chops with baked apples, etc.), I decided to can the sauce so that we could enjoy it all year. I have recently become very interested- and very devoted to- the idea of canning, so I already knew how to do it and just had to find the time.

I fully admit that it's the "finding the time" part which is the most challenging. I always seem to have more "will" than "way," but I enlisted the help of the kids for a while last week and together, with one adding the sugar and another adding the cinnamon and nutmeg, we made a pretty good product. Because canning involves so much boiling water and hot glass I don't let the kids help me with that part, but they actually enjoyed themselves tremendously watching as I boiled jars and lids, set them out, added the sauce and the placed the jars into the large canning rack in the canner. They were so interested, in fact, that I began to have ideas about future homeschool lessons involving food preservation!

We have been eating our applesauce quickly, so I'm sure that it won't last all winter, but my hope is that sometime this winter, when the memories of fresh produce from the farm or orchard feel despairingly distant, we'll be able to open a can of our applesauce and enjoy not only the product, but also remember the time we spent together making it.

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