We made our last two trips to the produce auction before it closed for the winter. The first week we bought a crate of yellow beans. Then last week, we finally got our pears. $10 for the crate of yellow beans; $9.00 for a peck of pears. We learned to go to the auction with an open mind. We let what was available and affordable inspire us and determine the project. It might not be what we thought we wanted but it always ended up being exactly what we needed.
We are obsessed with canning. It snuck up on us, but one look in our pantries confirms the obsession. We have neglected our housework, the blog, our cooking, friends and family: “I can’t talk now I’m canning”. “I can’t come that weekend. We’re canning”. We started canning mid August and we were amateurs. We eavesdropped at the auction and asked questions of the women who canned anything and everything. We read books. We Googled. We had no concept of the amount of produce we bid on until we brought it in to the kitchen and started to unload it. It was always much much more than we thought. We learned about the pectin levels that naturally occurred in what we purchased and what we picked. Jams and butters took much longer to set than any of our recipes called for. Next year we may experiment with natural, sugar free pectins to speed up that process. We were burned by boiling water. We cut our fingers. We worried about botulism. “Merry Christmas-sorry our gift put you in the in the hospital.”. We double check the seals on every jar. Most canning days lasted 12 hours. It is really hard work but the time flies and it is so gratifying. The jars make a popping noise when they seal and that became the best sound in the world as we counted every one. By the time we put the jars in the our pantries, we’re combing our books for the next project. We haven’t even tasted everything we’ve canned. Maybe we’re reluctant to disturb the still life that is our pantries. It is a source of both pride and delight. But we have shared and so far to good reviews. We will make baskets for family and friends for the holidays. We text pictures of everything we do to the kids. They are impressed and that makes us happy too. It may be the best thing that has happened to us this year: the picking, the auction, the canning. And we are not done yet…stay tuned.