Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Canning and Family Mealtime...A Dying Art

I grew up watching my Mom and other female family members can. We had a big garden in our back yard, full of fresh vegetables and fruits. I loved picking the vegetables and helping my Mom prepare the veggies for canning and watching her can tomatoes, okra, green beans, pickles, corn, potatoes, turnip greens, beets, squash and most of all, sand plum jelly. In some areas, they are referred to as wild plums. Regardless, there is no better jelly and this was the only jelly served in our house still the only jelly made and served to my family. My children grew up eating it and my grandchildren are eating it. Makes the very best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

When canning, Mom was in rare form. Every tool needed was sterilized, in place and ready to go. She reminded me of an artist carefully painting on canvas. She loved growing, canning and preparing the food. She grew up on a farm with a big garden, chickens, cattle and pigs and all their food was home grown.  She helped her Mom can, her grandmother canned and canning was part of their everyday life and they loved it!

Today, I know very few baby boomers, besides myself, who can and lots of us grew up with canning in the family. Recently a vistor at my house noticed all the canned jelly, jellin' and curiously asked what that was. He was from the Northeast and said he had never seen homemade jelly or tasted it. He was curious as to how I made it. I gave him a jar and he asked me the best way to eat it! The only jelly he was familiar with was Welch's Grape. That is NOT jelly!

In the day, canning was truly a family affair. The flavorful results kept family members together at mealtime. The family actully looked forward to mealtime and every bite was savored. Perhaps family mealtime today can be considered a dying "art" as well. In today's hurry up and get me fed society, we are really missing the mark on how enjoyable sitting down with the family for dinner can be. When's the last time you heard, "what's for supper"?

Give canning a don't have to have a bountiful garden, just go you your local Farmer's Market, buy the fresh veggies and fruits and let the canning begin!

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