"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 15, 2011

Farmwife Monday: Canning

A demure 'farmwife' from the late 1940s, probably in The Farmer's Wife or another farm magazine.
I've styled a few pantries in my day for photo shoots but have never seen one as colorful.

It is full-gear canning season here: almost everyone I know is canning something, has been canning, will be canning. This week I will be doing sweet corn on Wednesday (for the freezer), along with some corn relish (canned) and some tomatoes, also canned, on Thursday.

My canning and freezing list for the rest of the season includes, in no particular order:
  • Bread and butter pickles
  • Tomato juice (Lois Bromfield's recipe, just discovered in a cookbook)
  • Tomato catsup
  • Corn, frozen
  • Corn relish
  • Beets, pickled, and also for the freezer (researching that one)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Peaches, pickled
  • Peaches, canned (some––we still have some from last year)
  • Peaches, frozen
  • Peach jam
  • Applesauce
  • Apple butter
  • Grape jam
  • Grape juice
  • Butternut squash (freezer)
I'm probably forgetting something but I do need to start my 'canning plan' for the next few months. My friend Anna and I are doing corn and tomatoes this week (our husbands will shuck the corn!) and in September we will probably go down to a community in Tennessee where her brother lives. They raise muscadine grapes, among other things, and she wants some for wine and jelly.

It's easy to get squirrelly when the cooler days start to come, which they seem to be, a bit. I like to fill the cupboards and the pantry and the freezers for the fall and winter months. And I'm determined to do as little grocery shopping as possible in the next few months. We still have some applesauce, canned peaches and grape juice from last year––and plenty of salsa––so I may not can these items. But the squirrel in me will likely prevail!

Happy canning, everyone! What do you like to put up for your pantries?

Modern day 'war' poster!
World War II era poster for the homefront.

You come back
when you're ready!



  1. I feel a little guilty asking a woman with pecks of peppers and a formidable canning list to step away from the canner for a moment to answer a question, but...if you need to prop your feet up for a moment, I do have a question. I see you intend to process butternut squash for the freezer. Despite owning a half dozen or more books on food preservation, none of mine offer any advice on how to do that. Is it as simple as chopping and freezing? Is blanching involved? In cubes? In slivers? Just curious how you do it.

    I've been canning, drying herbs, freezing, etc. Just made eight jars of Seedless Blackberry-Cabernet Jam. Oh my! Christmas gifts already on the shelf! Got to love that.

    Happy canning days to you!

  2. Kate, not at all -- what we've done in the past is to peel and steam chunks of butternut squash. Then we put it in a big bowl and mash it up, add butter, a bit of salt and fresh ground pepper, and nutmeg, mix it together and freeze it ready to eat. My husband is a great peeler so I'm glad for his help.

    This year, however, I have a strainer deal that you attach to a tabletop and it has different attachments (including one for pumpkin and squash). It made the juicing and ketchup go so quickly so I'm looking forward to using it for squash and pumpkin (we'll put that up plain). We may pressure can that (with my friend Anna's deal). I've never pressure canned and am a bit peevish about it.

    When we've frozen the prepared butternut squash, I put it into plastic quarts but I suppose you could do bags, too. It would just be a bit messier. That's why I think we'll pressure can it this year.

  3. PS Taking the morning off from canning and hitting the produce auction again this afternoon. And your blackberry cabernet jam sounds lovely!

  4. Thanks so much! I like the idea of freezing it ready to eat! I'm going to try this.

    I have the same "strainer deal" for the first time this year too, and I love it! My husband likes his blackberry jam to be seedless, so I used it to strain all the seeds out of the blackberries for plain blackberry jam and for the blackberry-cab. jam. I have the pumpkin screen as well, and can't wait to try it out on some enormous Boston Marrow squash that I just harvested from our garden today. One, that I've been gleefully calling my "magnum opus" all summer, weighs in at a hefty 18 lbs.!

    I do hope you will blog about your adventures in pressure canning. I'm a bit daunted by the process, so I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic.

    Produce auctions? Oh my! I'll try not to covet those. What deals you are finding!

    I was inspired to search for a recipe for blackberry-cabernet jam after having the blackb.-cab. sorbet at the Hancock Inn. So delicious! I'd be happy to send you the link for the recipe, if you'd like.

  5. I love your site! Thanks so much for following my blog, thereby introducing me to yours! I assume what brought you to mine was the entry called "The Canning Pot?" http://sauce-on-the-side.blogspot.com/2011/08/canning-pot.html

    I declare, everyone around the country-even moreso than usual-is on a canning kick this year! I have been having a wonderful time with it...it has actually allowed me to get closer to family members and to recreate some of the wonderful food I had as a child in the Lowcountry.

    Your canning list is most impressive, and the posters at the bottom of this entry are just wonderful. I can't decide if I like the war-wife or the zombie-mom better!

  6. Hi Chef Green -- thanks so much! I must have searched on something that did an initial hit on your blog, not sure! Will check that "Canning Pot" link out. I know I've been looking for a really good tomato sauce (to can, of course). Do you have one?

    Lately I've been feeling like that zombie mom in more ways than one! I do think that canning has caught on as it did in the Depression and war years as a way to feel in control of our food destiny. I don't believe it is cheaper but it is more secure a feeling than a reliance upon the grocery store. And it's quite fun (although jam and I are having issues: it's the jelling and I can't even seem to get pectin to work properly!).

    I hope you'll return, thanks for your nice comments, and I'll be back to see your blog, too.

  7. Kate -- sorry not to respond sooner. I would love that recipe! Do you mean Hancock Inn from Hancock, NH? I clearly need to revisit your blog again. I tend to have more time for reading blogs in the winter months...

    Thanks again for stopping by and let me know how your squash comes out.

    Best, Catherine


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