Some might think canning or bottling your own food to be prehistoric or just not necessary. I mean these days you can just walk right into the grocery store and what you need is right there on the shelf for your super hurried hand to grab and be on your way. So why would anyone in their right mind want to do it themselves?? "You mean to tell me there are still people who grow their own fruits and vegetables, water and weeding them, harvest them, wash them, remove their stems, or pits or peels, carefully cut or smash them or add them together to make sauces,salsas or jams and put them into jars to be eaten later???" Yep, there are still those people, and I am one of those "crazy" people. However I really don't think I'm that crazy. Let me explain why I do what I do. First of all growing your own food makes you feel closer to nature and makes you appreciate what you have and how much work it takes to produce good food. I think growing a garden and involving children is such a good thing, they learn where their food comes from (not growing on the grocery store shelf.) It teaches them to work and that work can be enjoyable. I find it very therapeutic to garden, water and weed! It's much cheaper than psychiatric therapy! It teaches many of life's lessons and builds character such as hard work, dedication, and responsibility. Growing and processing your own food builds self reliance, it allows us to not fear if the grocery store suddenly had no food, I would not panic. I know how to produce and preserve on my own, I don't have to rely on others. What I have explained above does take a lot of time, effort and energy, but I have been doing it for years and I feel it is very worth it for me and my family. And I'm not someone who is bored and can't find enough to do! Another thing I like about preserving your own food is that you get to know how that food was grown, for instance I don't use pesticides or other harmful substances in my garden so I know that food is very safe to eat. And I am able to pick it at peak ripeness so it is extra tasty! And as I mentioned in my "Blackberry Jelly" post there is just something nostalgic about it. It brings back memories! Maybe of canning with grandma or mom. Experiences that you had while growing or picking the vegetables or fruit. It's more than just food it's memories of your life all bottled up! And trust me there is a certain sadness when you open up that last bottle of peaches or that last jar of pear jam, it's over until next year. (We have been out of grape jelly for a couple of months now, my kids are about to mutiny on me. The stuff at the store just isn't the same and our grapes are usually ripe in about October so I need to get as much juice out of those babies as I can!) Here are a few of the things that I preserve around here. Pepper Jelly (makes a tasty appetizer when served with cream cheese and crackers), Raspberry, Pear, Peach Jam, Grape and Blackberry Jelly, Blackberry Syrup (tasty on pancakes), Peach and Pear Syrup...mmm...on pancakes! Salsa, Spaghetti Sauce, Tomato Sauce, Tomato Juice, Chopped/Stewed Tomatoes, Peaches, Pears, Green Beans, Carrots, Pickles, Picked Beets (one of my favorites!), Frozen corn off the cob, frozen peppers, and the list could go on but you get the idea! The garden produces much and much can be saved to be eaten later. So why do I can? Because I CAN!
Yes, I have small hands, but that is a big pepper!!
A little batch of Blackberry Jelly.