Jars, jars, everywhere and not an end in site!

22 07 2009

Old Canners never quit, they just hoard jars. I never knew how to can. I did not grow up in a family where canning was done. In fact, you can read about my mother’s try at canning in my book, In the 1940’s. But I married the son of a canner, so I learned to process with the best of them. And he and family kept me plenty busy all summer long. Every summer. For years. And years. And years.

When our third child was born, my husband took a week off from work to help me with the new baby. We also put up a bushel of green beans and a sack of sweet corn.

My mother-in-law was a great gardener. She could grow anything and usually did. She grew tomatoes like you cannot imagine. Beautiful, plentiful tomatoes. Every year. For years. If she were alive today, we would not have to worry about the world being a greener place. It would be green – or else.

She grew the vegetables and it was up to me to can them for my family. Of course since this was all given to me free, I could never refuse any of it. So I canned and I canned and I canned. Every year. For years.

I was busy raising 6 children, but believe me, I learned to can or else.

My mother-in-law would call and say she had another bushel of tomatoes for me. And I needed to come right now and pick them up. So no matter what else I might have planned that day, I loaded up the kids and drove to pick up the tomatoes. Then I canned some more. I learned to never, ever throw away a canning jar. You just never know when you might need that jar for another round of canning.

And when my husband traveled, he would stop at the roadside stands and buy surprises for me – like a bushel of squash or a box of strawberries. Oh what fun! I always smiled and thanked him. After all, he was doing this for me. Just think of all the fun I was going to have freezing squash and making strawberry jam. I could hardly wait. And I needed to count the jars to make sure I had enough for all that jam. Next it would be blackberries or green beans. What joy. How wonderful to get up in the early morning and face all that. And peaches. Oh Glory. How lucky I am. Plum jelly everywhere!

And those varicose veins in my legs? They don’t matter at all. Probably will go away just as soon as I finish up this next bushel.

But those jars just keep accumulating every year. For years. And years. Now we have jars stored under the porch, and on the porch, and in the utility closet, and in the coat closet, and next to the hot water tank, and in the garage, and behind the washer. I buy a certain brand of spaghetti sauce because it comes in a canning jar. Then I save more jars. You just never can tell when you might need a canning jar in an emergency. When I hear the word ‘process’, I get goose bumps and start counting jars. And I’m sure I hear that pressure cooker hissing in my sleep. Might need more jars tomorrow. You just never can tell.