We are now in Kansas, staying at a hotel while we house hunt. The weather here is absolutely beautiful. How I have missed the crisp fall air! We have passed by several pumpkin patches and I long to bring in my own harvest. I have dreams of having a huge garden with vegetables overflowing and an orchard full of fruit trees ready to be turned into pies and jams.
This year isn’t that year for me. It’s funny how our lives ebb and flow. Some seasons are full with times of planting. Other times are filled with harvest. For now, I am in a barren winter season. I can still be thankful though. I see spring on the horizon. Planting time is near. We will soon find a house and work like little ants getting everything in it’s place. Maybe next year I will be up to my ears in canning jars, and freezer bags, and dried “stuff”.
For now, I want to post something I wrote 4 years ago. I look back and see how much I have learned over the years and I just thank God for allowing me to learn…little by little. I have to laugh too, because we always think we know so much until we look back and see how much we had to learn. ~smile~
October 11, 2007
When I was young, we lived near my great-grandmother. Every summer, my mother and great-grandmother both had large gardens and preserved the bounty each fall. At the time, us kids couldn’t stand canning season, because of the vinegar smell we had to endure on pickle canning day. I was too young to appreciate being able to grow and preserve food for your family to enjoy all year long.
I will never forget the time I went into my grandmother’s pantry to get some salsa she had canned. I had made some dip, and wanted to add her yummy salsa to it. However, something did not taste right. Well, the jars weren’t marked, and I couldn’t tell the difference between a jar of salsa and a jar of spaghetti sauce. I was hoping for Mexican, not Italian!
A few years ago, I decided to try my hand at canning. My grandmother passed away 12 years ago, and my mother is halfway across the states from me, so I didn’t have the benefit of hands on learning. My first experience was canning salsa. I always make it fresh, but thought it would be nice to pull some out of the pantry at any time. I didn’t read up on canning very thoroughly, instead just jumped right in. I made my salsa, filled my hot jars, then watered bathed them for the alloted time. As I waited for the “popping sound”, I decided to look up some info online. What? It said I needed an approved recipe, as it is possible to create botulism if the acidity was not high enough. I was so worried I would give my family botulism. I prayed as I opened each jar, “Please keep my family safe from botulism, Lord”. I guess I could have thrown the salsa out, but I had worked so hard I couldn’t bare to.
Not long after the salsa incident, a friend taught me to make strawberry jam. I loved it, but couldn’t stand the amount of sugar used. I was told that non-sugar recipes really didn’t work, or taste very good. I gave up on jam…until recently. I listened in on a phone seminar given by Marilyn Moll of The Urban Homemaker, with guest Lisa Vitello of New Harvest Homestead. I learned that you could make delicious jam with honey, or even no sugar at all. I was introduced to Pamona’s Pectin, which works wonders with these types of recipes.
If you are just starting out, I would recommend getting some Pamona’s Pectin. I wanted to make a small batch, just to test it out. I took out only a few jars and started boiling the jars and lids in a huge pot. I have a water bath canner, but since I was only making a few jars I figured a large pot would work. I could cover the jars with boiling water. I chopped up some peaches and plums, threw them in a pot with some fresh apple juice, a stick of cinnamon, and a few cloves. I let it simmer for a bit, then started mashing. I followed the remaining instructions from the pectin box. I also have a Ball’s Blue Book, which is helpful. Here is my mini-bounty and my baby step toward learning to preserve food for my family!
This week the High Five Moms are all writing on different aspects of Autumn and times of harvest. Make sure to hop on over and be encouraged!
Andie @ Happy Andersons
Stacy @ A Delightful Home
Brandy @ The Marathon Mom
Keri Mae @ The Happy Home