I Can, Therefore I Am

I took a break from canning for the past two years. Now and then, I regretted not canning, but life moved on at a fast speed and I understood myself and gave myself a pass for not doing this. My husband actually promised me the healthiest applesauce money can buy – organic, no sugar added, with the highest possible nutrition score on the label – just so I skip canning.

Peaches in light syrup

Peaches cooking in a light syrup, almost ready to go into jars.

He does not like see me “slaving” in the kitchen. Isn’t he a darling? He wanted me to give myself a break from canning, too. 

Some people think canning is a thing of the past, something American grandmas used to do. But no, wait, there was a lady who told me her mom canned every year. Then she added, “I just don’t have that gene.” I replied that some years I have that gene, and others I just don’t. This year, I do.

My conclusion is that if I do any canning, I have to be in the right frame of mind – the canning frame of mind. I should not guilt myself into it, I should not compare myself to somebody else in order to motivate myself to do it etc. I should do it because I want to do it.

Jars of homemade salsa

Jars of salsa drying off after the waterbath

It’s a lot of work and the kitchen is a mess for a day or two. But guess what? It takes only one minute to wipe the counters and 10 minutes to mop the sticky floor of the kitchen after a day of canning. And then you have the glorious jars to admire and enjoy for the next 12 months. Plus you have a clean kitchen, cleaner than if you had not canned. Who mops their kitchen floor every day? I don’t. It does not get sticky every day.

But what really motivated me to can this year is – well – several things. In all honesty, I have become more and more accustomed to that really good taste of fresh salsa one gets in a Mexican restaurant. So store-bought salsa just does not make the cut anymore.

Visiting Romania in April reminded me of zacusca – a roasted vegetable spread for bread, which I cannot even buy in the States. It’s best when you make it yourself anyway.

Then, of course, the thought of homemade applesauce is enough to make my mouth water. Last but not least, I wanted to can peaches. I love peaches in every form: fresh, canned, in a jelly, dried, in a compote.

So here I am, canning four recipes and seeing if I make enough from the first batch. I have a feeling I want to can more just so I have 24 jars (quarts or pints) of each recipes. I have ordered my ingredients from a wholesaler and on the first day I canned six pints of salsa (plus a quart – somehow I got more than the recipe said I would) and 12 quarts of peaches. The rest will have to happen next week.


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