Preserving the Harvest: A Visual Guide to Midsummer Canning

Around about now (August) you might find yourself overwhelmed with the abundance of produce the earth has to share. You can sell it, eat it, give it away, and still you’ll have vegetables tucked into just about every corner of your apartment.

Too much of a good thing

A joke (courtesy of Howard Reitman):

Q: Why do people in Vermont lock their car doors during the summer?
A: To stop farmers from leaving their zucchini in the back seat.

Once you’ve exhausted all your close friends and random people off the street with seconds it’s time to bust out the big pots and mason jars.

To begin, be sure that the day you can is a record-breaking scorcher (it also helps to live on the top floor of an airconditionless apartment). Next, vegetables, like humans, prefer to socialize in the evening, this operation is best done sometime after sunset, let’s say 10:00 pm on a Friday, which finally gives you an opportunity to use the old excuse, “Sorry Clemence we can’t make the picture-show tonight as we’ll be staying home and canning.”

Play it cool zucchinni.

Now that you’ve freed up your evening from social engagements it’s time to prep the veggies. It helps to work in a confined room with limited counter space.

Immovable Feast

Everything chopped and ready to go? Great, start-up the boiling water bath. If you want to wear a short sleeve shirt you have no one to blame but yourself for your third degree burns.

I’m so tough!

Pride comes before the fail.

Black Cat Interlude:

Can we keep him?

Lil’ Blacky desperately searches for an exit

An important part of canning is following instructions, which is hard if your partner is one of those people who likes to go on intuition, and the sad truth is that even when you follow the canning guidelines they tend to be wrong, or at least misguided – say they call for three cups of vinegar, well it’s likely you’ll need more otherwise you’ll end up having to eat all your canning before it’s even in the jar. We found (using the scientific method of repeated failures) it was a good practice to err on the side of liberal in our preparations in order to avoid not having enough liquid to fill the jars.

One for you, one for me

Step 1: bring to a boil

Step 2a: Scoop it with a ladle

Step 2b: Move the contents toward the can

Step 2c: Put the contents in the can

Step 3a: Have your partner inspect the can

Step 3b: Now you inspect the can

Step 4: Self congratulate

Teamwork is essential. Take breaks when necessary. Invite strange cats upstairs always. Remember, the only way you will get to enjoy your spoils (hopefully nothing spoils!) is if the both of you survive the process.

You’ll thank me December

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One Response to Preserving the Harvest: A Visual Guide to Midsummer Canning

  1. russell says:

    this is great. this blog is a great idea. i’m doing a food preservation workshop next week and hope it can be this entertaining and good looking

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