"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china."

Charles Dickens

August 23, 2011

Can-o-Rama!

So I missed 'Farmwife Monday' this week––that's OK, I never seem to keep any routine so she may be more of an occasional addition. I have included some vintage images of women canning here today so they can fill the void. I've also been canning like crazy. I've got the fever after six full and part days spent canning and freezing. So much so that I have vertigo today and I'm taking a needed break and puttering with some paperwork and blogging. [Ha! Or maybe my body was just sensing the oncoming 5.8 earthquake in Virginia today––even though we did not feel it here in south-central Kentucky.]

I enjoy sorting and inventorying things and I love to make lists even more. I see this blog as an expression to the world as much as it is a scrapbook of our lives here on the farm. So I will be referring back to my canning list, below, on occasion to update it with amounts and other information I wish to record from year to year. You are welcome to check, too. In the coming days I will be posting about specific recipes and techniques that I have learned or shared with my friend Anna.

Canning can be a hard, but gratifying job, and always with a positive outcome. Writing does not have quite the same reward for me unless I've posted a blog or published an article (and holding my book, The Pantry, for the first time was almost as amazing as holding each of my children after they were born). When work does not produce tangible results it can be harder to justify and more nebulous. However, an array of canning jars with different creations in them, whether cooling on the table or sitting on the shelf of your pantry or cupboard––now that's a job well done. Creating something you can hold, feel, use or eat, there's just something quite remarkable about it.

This is my 'to do' list for the rest of the season. I have a friend here in Kentucky who calls it a food psychosis, food obsession or food hoarding, depending on the day. She has it and I suppose that I do, too. Another friend in New Hampshire has stocked her cellar full of grains and beans and other things for her family. Providing good nourishing food for one's family is a good thing to be obsessed about, I suppose. I don't want to go to the store much this winter if I can help it, for many reasons: budget, gas prices, not wanting to buy produce that isn't local if we can help it, and often bad roads. And, I'm a squirrel that likes to hibernate in her nest. [I do need to state here that I am not this bad, yet: this recent episode was the worst case of hoarding that I've seen on the program Hoarders to date.]

My goal is to better plan our meals for the week in advance, perhaps on Sundays, so to free me up more for other things, like writing. Our canned food stores will also supplement our freezers full of our own beef, pork, chicken, sale items from various places, and our own fresh eggs. If we lose power for several weeks because of an ice storm and our freezers thaw (which has happened here on the ridge in the past), we have plenty to share with the neighbors. We have food to use up now and there's no reason to shop unless for something unusual or something I need for a recipe. Putting food by is also something we can all do together on occasion and there is comfort in that, too: just like when we all put up cords of wood in the woodshed together. It's also a kind of therapy for me: working with my hands and lining those shelves with jars and jars of foodstuffs.

All of this produce is from local produce, with the exception of 'Baby Gold' peaches that I've ordered from Pennsylvania and Concord grapes from New York state. I will come back and periodically check my list off and add quantities––as if I put them on a slip of paper, it will likely get lost or shoved into a cookbook:

I'm not sure the origin of this image but believe it is from a current illustrator.

Canning/Freezing √Done and 'To Do' List:

    • Strawberry Jam                          
      • 20 pints/half-pints: May
    • Strawberries, freezer                    
      • 24 quarts: May
    • Corn, freezer                                
      • 16 quarts: 8-17
      • 15 quarts: 8-26
    • Tomatoes, whole Roma               
      • 45 quarts: 8-18
    • √Tomatoes, quartered
      • 9 quarts: 8-29
    • √Tomato Catsup                           
      • 12 pints: 8-18
      • 14 pints: 8-29
    • Tomato Juice                              
      • 35 quarts: 8-19
      • 24 quarts: 8-29
    • √"V-9" Juice                                 
      • 13 quarts:  8-26
    • √Cream of Tomato Soup
      • 25+ pints: 8-29
    • √Bread and Butter Pickles              
      • 25 pints: 8-26
    • √Chunk Sweet Pickles                    
      • 14 pints: 8-20
    • √Mixed Sweet Peppers, freezer      
      • 12 quarts: 8-21
    • Stuffed Peppers, freezer              
      • 20 peppers: " "
    • √Zucchini Relish
      • 13 pints: 8-29 
    • 9-day Gherkin Pickles
    • Banana Peppers
    • Mexican Peppers
    • Nectarine Jam
    • Pickled Beets
    • Beets, freezer (if possible)
    • Peaches
    • Peach Butter
    • Peach Jam
    • Sauerkraut
    • Grape Juice
    • Grape Jam
    • Apple Butter
    • Applesauce
    • Pumpkin
    • Butternut Squash, freezer (pre-seasoned)
And anything else that might become available to can or freeze or pickle or preserve!

You come back when you're ready!

Catherine

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