Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yes, I Can!

The first home that I can remember was an acre carved out of the Southern California hillside.  My parents scrimped and saved and worked every weekend on the sprawling homestead.  There was a mini orchard, brambles full of blackberries, rows of strawberries, and the old peach tree out by the driveway.

Every summer, my grandmother would come over and she and my mother would can.  The canning itself is a hazy memory.  A big pot.  Sweet sweet jam smeared over toast.  My grandmother has since passed on but a few weeks ago, my mother and I did what so many generations of women have done before us.  We pulled out the big black canning pot.  Sterilized jars.  Smushed strawberries.  Added pectin.  And water bathed our way into family history. 

We only do this once a summer, usually.  The rest of the summer is a blur of visits, summer camps, and canning in the quiet of my own kitchen.  But canning with my mother, just as she canned with her mother, is something that should be savored at least once a year.  

This morning, popping open a jar of Bean woman strawberry jam, I smiled.  Thanks mom for passing on the tradition.  Yes, we can!


August 13th is the first annual National Can It Forward Day! It is co-hosted the makers of Ball canning jars and Canning Across America.  In celebration of the resurgence of canning (I literally could not find pectin or canning equipment in any brick and mortar 4 years ago!) and the deliciousness that is home-canned goodness, here are a few of my favorite past posts on the subject:

- Quick Berry, Quack Berry: I host a canning party and we make more than just jam.

- Jammin: I indulge in the peace that is canning.

- There's More Than One Way to Skin . . .: My favorite ways to savor the harvest, topped by canning.

Please come back on Thursday for a special canning giveaway!  Now, go get your can on.


Kateri said...

Loved this post! So wonderful that this skill is being passed from generation to generation in your family. My mom taught me how to how to can, and while I cannot do it with her every summer, it is something that I do each year that brings me back to my childhood in a good way.

(Coming over from Homestead Revival's barn hop.)

Green Bean said...

Thank you, Kateri. These traditions are so nice to carry on. I hope to pass them on to my own children.

Condo Blues said...

My mother in law cans anything that doesn't move! When I was barely a girlfriend she taught me how to make strawberry freezer jam because I hadn't canned anything until well, a month ago. I joke with her that the jam making was a some sort of test to see if I was good enough for her son.

Barb @ A Life in Balance said...

My parents never canned though they did have a good size garden. However, my dh and I have been canning together since we first met, along with gardening. Maybe my kids will continue the tradition, too!

Green Bean said...

@Lisa - As I only have boys (not that men don't can!), I may be following in your MILs footsteps!

@Barb - How we grow up definitely stays with us. I've always wanted a garden since I was a young adult and now I compare notes with my parents all the time about my edibles. I'll bet your kids follow in your footsteps in some way.

Anonymous said...

hi, my husbands mom and grandma have been teaching me how to can. we have made pickled beets and canned beef. my grandma made strawberry jelly. she has passed so i dont know how she did it and my hubbies grandma has gotten to the last stage of allstimers so i am just serching for resapies. my hubbies mom is a busy woman. so when i found your sight i saw a memery in writeing. i have put you in my favorites so i will be back soon. thank you, sinserly, kris irwin

Heidi said...

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of times spent in the garden and kitchen with my Grandma canning and harvesting. I can every summer and I love it. She passed on a decade ago, but when I can I feel like she is with me, her memories, guidance, and encouragement. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post about YOUR family traditions. Keep up the good work.


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