Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Home Canning: It's a Family Tradition

The first several weeks in June are always filled with puttin' up vegetables.  As far back as I can remember, we picked, snapped, and canned green beans in June, as well as froze squash.  My mother did it, as did my grandmother before her.  It is a family tradition, one of those special family activities that is passed down from generation to generation. 
 Until my children.  For years, neither of them showed any signs of interest in planting a bean, much less canning one.  Finally, a year or two ago my daughter decided she wanted to try vegetable gardening, and she even froze some of her green beans.  As for my son, as long as I plant the tomatoes at his house, he will water them (and eat them).  So, a glimmer of hope arose on the horizon. 
This year brought a nice surprise.  Glory of glories, my daughter announced that she wanted to learn how to can her beans (didn't like those frozen ones!).  Well, do you think I was one to stand in her way?  Bring it on, I said!  I went all out and even created a "Canning Frolic" invitation:
We had a wonderful time canning beans for Shelly and us!  Little Lillie (our little Mother's Helper) got in the act too.  Lanie was there, but she stayed out of the kitchen!   Will have to work on her...
Lillie is very serious about her work.
We started with clean jars.

And of course beans.

Washed and snapped (on this canning day, we had so many, I cheated a little and cut some of them).

Got our water boiling to add to the jars.

Simmered the lids.

Raw-packed the jars (meaning we didn't cook or blanch the beans).

Added the boiling water.

Hubby tightly screwed on the lids.
Put the beans in the caner. 

We do the actual canning outside on the camp burner since we can't regulate the temperature as easily with the electric stove in the house.  We've had this caner over 20 years, but she's still puttin out the steam!

And there we have it!  A beginning to our winter's food supply AND a beginning to "passing the torch" of our Food Preservation Family Tradition!