I went shopping yesterday and during checkout, I saw a magazine that made me so excited that I grabbed it and starting thinking about all the wonderful things I will make and can with the bounty from my community garden plot, home garden and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) deliveries. Yes, I also momentarily thought about how admitting my excitement about canning could seem a bit “odd” to some but my enthusiasm quickly dismissed this thought. I am okay with being a modern day Betty Crocker, apron and all. I freely admit that as soon as I got home, I spent an hour reading the canning magazine cover to cover. I love canning. There, it is out there.
Canning may seem old fashioned in the US but it is the way of life in many of the countries in which I have worked. In Kosovo, I tasted the most amazing pickles and they weren’t just from cucumbers. I learned that many vegetables can be pickled. My friend Elizabeth and I are already experts at canning tomatoes (two years running) and applesauce (one year). We had a nice kitchen, electricity, running water and all the cool canning gadgets that are available to us here in the US, especially as canning is picking up in prominence as more and more people in the US are growing their own food, including in urban gardens. I recall trips to Afghanistan, Liberia and Nicaragua where the “kitchen” was an open wood flame and washing the dishes was accomplished by hauling water in pots. I admired the process they went through to prepare and cook food for their families and thought that with everything we have available, I wanted to be closer to the food preparation process through growing and canning.
So bring on the pickles! the pesto! the relish!