August 20, 2014

I Want To Learn To…(fill in the blank)

May8

As I gaze at these photos, there’s just something satisfying that stirs my soul down deep: the down home goodness of stocking ones pantry with provisions that feeds a family, nourishing them physically and emotionally.

There’s a sense of preparedness from diligence, and thankfulness for the bounty that has been provided, knowing that hard work will now supply loved ones with the fruit of our labor, literally.

Home economics. Kitchen in housekeeping flat, New York,” circa 1910.

For hundreds of years, the art of canning was a kitchen skill modeled from early on. It was a way of life because a bountiful pantry meant survival, and a matter of necessity, not just an optional task.

source

Circa 1918. “National War Garden Commission. Vigo County Canning Clubs.”

Over the last few weeks, I have realized just how lazy I am. Truly. The modern conveniences that I have access to make my Ten Minute Dinners philosophy a reality in which I am so grateful, but the one kitchen skill that I really want to master this summer can not be accomplished in ten minute. I want to learn to can, and not just the simple freezer canning that I typically do. I want to learn the old fashion, stick the cans in the hot water/pressure cooker kind of canning. I want to line my pantry with gifts from my garden and supply my family with options all year long.

I have the cans and the lids and the cookbooks, and was prepared to be a self learner and teach myself until I opened up a jar that a friend gave me as a gift. It sat on my shelf for a year before I opened it, but that’s the beauty of canning, it should still be perfectly fine, but it wasn’t. It had mold on the rim, and I thought to myself, that would be me if I attempted it on my own.

I don’t want to spend a good portion of my summer mastering a skill to only have it be a waste of time, so I am on a hunt to be a student of this. Since I live in the country, and in the south, canning is still a way of life for many of these truly Southern gals, so I just have to ask. (And buy a pressure cooker.) (And gather a few of my friends to do it with me because it’s always more fun with the girlfriends.)

I will definitely let you know my progress.

So fill in your blank.

Is there something that you have wanted to learn, but just never got around to?  I’ve been wanting to learn to can for years and years, but just never took an action step to actually accomplish it. Now I am.

Won’t you join me? I’d love to hear a skill you’ve always wanted to learn.

I want to learn to …………..

tasty tuesday What to Feed a House Full of Middle Schoolers?Simple Rules for Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods – As always, please link directly to your recipe post and not your blog URL, so that everyone can find this recipe months from now.

Also, link back here in your post so that everyone can join in the fun, it’s just common courtesy of blog carnivals. Please do not link up a recipe meme that you have started, and limit to two posts.  Thanks for your understanding.




Comments

  1. I really loved this prompt, Jen! Thank you for sharing the skill you’d like to learn. I am inspired.

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  2. Carolyn says:

    the National Center for Home Food Preservation has a free online course through the University of Georgia. I also recently learned that you should not store canned goods with the ring on. It can rust and cause problems and it is easier to check seals with the rings off. Good luck!

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  3. Carole Coons Davids says:

    knit

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  4. Mommy P. says:

    I wanted to learn how to make grape jam. We had a grape vine at the house I grew up in and we always had family friends come and pick up grapes when the harvest was plentiful and return with a few jars as a thank you. I never learned how to make the jam or can it though, until my college roommate and I both lost our mothers in the same year. Her mom did a lot of canning and she had learned the art and had the equipment and I had the grape vines in my mom’s backyard. It was so much fun working together, sharing stories, creating and reliving memories through the task of making jam, and turned out to be a great way for us to celebrate memories of our mothers.

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  5. Missy Roberts says:

    sign language

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  6. I have a long list but at the top are knit, play guitar, and sew better on my sewing machine- self taught so it’s not always pretty!

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  7. Joyce Edgerton Laslo says:

    I would love to can. Did it one year with my mom and sister with fruits. Wished I had a basement to store them, just not enough room in the pantry.

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  8. To sew.

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  9. Ana Maria Saba says:

    I have a huge list of skills I want to learn: gardening, canning, raising chickens, sewing, knitting, crocheting, hunting & field dressing, and fishing & filleting.

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  10. Amy Levos says:

    I have always wanted to learn guitar. Now that I’m cutting back to one class at a time at school, if I can start to get my home under control I can start putting in a little time…

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  11. Tanya Stewart says:

    I took canning and freezing classes through the Stokes County Cooperative Extension office. Janelle has retired, but I bet the Guilford county office offers the class too. I got a great booklet in the class. Still haven’t canned though because I learned in the class that flat glass top stoves are NOT meant to be used for canning (too much heat over a long period of time w/ the added weight of a full canner can lead to a cracked stove top). I bought a Foodsaver instead and am trying to freeze more. Good luck with the canning! I’ve always wanted to learn to play the harmonica and the accordion.

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    KimH Reply:

    @Tanya Stewart, If you have an outdoor gas turkey friers, you can use that outside instead of your glass topped stovetop. I use it now when I water bath can just because it keeps my house from getting hot & humid. I havent used a real canner on one, but you certainly could. You could also use the burner on your gas grill if you have one. You can regulate the flame on both and they make a great option.

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  12. Sew!!! I want to make time honored gifts for my family. I can crossstitch. However people aren’t really appreciative of that any longer!!! I want to make quilts and blankets for my family that they can have for years to come and know it is something I made for them from my heart!!

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  13. In June we are moving to the country to start a homestead. I am so excited and overwhelmed. I just learned hot water canning during berry season a couple weeks ago. Pressure canning is definitely near the top of my learning list; then in the next couple years I want to add chickens, cows, aquaponics (hydroponic gardening plus fish), horses, fruit trees, and bees.

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  14. Jennifer C. says:

    I have so many! Canning, sewing, knitting and so on. I really want to know how to do all of those domestic things but I am such an impatient person that once I don’t get it within the first 5 min. I feel done. I really need to work on that! A good reference for canning is Homestead Blessings! They have several how to videos and one specific on canning. I think it is called the Art of Canning. Good luck and please keep us updated on how you are doing :)

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  15. I want to learn how to can tomatoes. I’ve done jam, applesauce, and peaches, and this year I really want to do diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. It IS so fulfilling to pull something out of the pantry that you canned–it’s like a free snack! :)

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  16. Canning is WELL worth it! Nothing like having veggies that you grew in your own garden all year long! We do a mixture of canning and freezing based on what we think works best. But, really it’s not that scary. I literally ate a jar of blackberry jam a while back that was 10 years old (yes, that is way past the date anyone says it’s okay, but it was fine and it was a jar of jam that my mamaw had made, who passed away in 2003, so it was worth the risk for me…if you can imagine a person in tears because of a bite of jam mixed with butter and spread on a biscuit, that was me!)

    Anyway, I’m excited for you because it’s definitely worth it.

    There was something cooking related that I was thinking the other day I wanted to do but now I can’t remember what it was…will be back if I can remember!

    But, non-cooking related, I always wanted to learn to sew.

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  17. I agree, canning can be intimidating, but I have not had any big fails so I encourage you to give it a try! I want to learn to crochet…I have joined a prayer shawl ministry and these ladies are so encouraging to me! Their work is beautiful! I want to do that!

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  18. Alona Peters says:

    Come can with me in Illinois, Jen! I received my canner for my wedding 29 years ago, and have canned thousands of jars in it :) We have found there are some foods we like canned better than frozen, and some are better frozen. Corn and fruit are better frozen, but my kids don’t even want to eat green beans that are not home canned! Your canner will come with a book that will tell you exactly what to do. It is not hard at all! My 12 year old can do it :)

    I want to learn to… quilt.

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  19. What a great post. I would love to learn how to can as well. I am sure I could nae a bunch but the other 2 that stick out are sewing and gardening.

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  20. You should definitely make this a link party in itself. That would be really fun.

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  21. My goal this summer is to make pizza on the grill. It just looks so cool when you see the pictures and everybody can add their own toppings.

    You might want to consider some hot water bath canning to see if you really enjoy the process before you buy a pressure canner. I can peaches and tomatoes that way and everybody loves them. I agree that you should contact you local extension agent for information. In our area they offer classes and free handouts.

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  22. I want to learn to coupon. I have been reading and wishing that I could figure out how to lower our spending.

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  23. Wow, there is so much to say here. I did a little canning last year, but would like to do lots more this summer. Eventually I want to learn to crochet and quilt. Both of which my mother knows how to do. Next up is making homemade beauty products. Then I want to learn to make cheese and yogurt. I have been gardening on a small scale but there is so much more to learn there. Life is a process of learning.

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  24. Love this post!

    I garden and freeze but have no interest in canning. I knit, quilt, sew, paint, build, etc-love it all.

    Later this year we are moving to San Diego, and I would love to learn how to surf so I can keep up with my cute So-Cal surfer dude hubby.

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  25. I want to learn how to do a really sexy smoky looking eye on myself, lol. I know that sounds shallow, but it’s the truth! I’m an esthetician / make up artist and I can do it awesome on someone else, but I just can’t perfect it to my standards on myself. Yes, I’ve lost my mind, but that’s the god’s honest truth — smokey eyes here I come! :)

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    Jen Reply:

    HAHA Katie – I LOVE it! Smokey eyes are the bomb!! I can “kind of ” do it on myself, but not truly to rock it. ;)

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  26. I love canning.. been doing water bath canning for a long time but only in the last year have I been canning non-acidic foods with a true canner. M’honey gifted me with an All American 17qt last year so I could can him some pumpkin butter (which the USDA does NOT recommend you can). I’ve really enjoyed it.

    I want to learn tooooo……… EVERYTHING! ;) Right now, the few things I’d love to learn to do is make homemade soap (not heat & pour) and to be a bee keeper. I imagine I’ll be making soap before long since Im pretty well versed in making bath & body products. This has been knocking around in my head for a year or two.. so time draws near. ;)

    The bee keeping though isnt realistic for me to try to do now. I live in town on a tiny little bit of land but I imagine I’ll try my hand at it when I retire out to the country sometime or another. ;)

    I would like to learn to make my own sausage & bacon and smoke & wood dry other foods as well.

    Along those same lines, I would like to learn to butcher a cow. :) Course, I’d like to have a place to have a cow to start with.

    One other thing I would like to do that Im looking for sources now is to get to know the local flora & fauna better and to learn which plants are useful for wild food, wild crafting, & wild medicines.

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  27. I agree with you!

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  28. I want to learn to make hard cheese… I think lol. It looks a bit complicated.

    I’m sure that moldy jar was just a fluke thoug, it happens from time to time, even to the best of canners.
    Once you get the hang of canning you’ll wonder why you didn’t start soon it years ago! :)

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    Kristen @ Joyfullythriving Reply:

    @Elise, That’s good to know, as I had a bad batch of salsa last year, and it has me doubting myself. I’m ready to start canning again, though!

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  29. …make my own yogurt. I keep reading different posts about it, but have not jumped in to try…yet, anyway!
    P.S. Canning intrigues me too, but I get nervous about not doing it correctly and making my family sick! :)

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    Crystal @ Serving Joyfully Reply:

    @Queen of the House, You should try the yogurt thing! It’s another thing that’s really not that bad, and it’s so fun to know that you did it :)

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  30. I’ve done water bath canning in the past. Mostly applesauce and peaches. I’ve never owned a pressure cooker. Now that the kids are grown and out of the area, I don’t do any canning anymore. I also have a glasstop stove. So that put a stop to my canning. I just stick with the freezer for food storage now. Nothing better than freezer jam on my toast in the morning.

    Great post topic.

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  31. Hi, thank you for hosting! I am excited that I will be learning to can with my mother in law this summer. She is the queen of jam and I can’t wait to learn. Today I shared my no-canned ingredient marinara recipe #1 – roma tomato, roasted red pepper & basil (#39). Enjoy!

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  32. I want to sew. To make things for my home, kids, hubs, friends and maybe even sell. I have a creative eye. I keep saying I’ll take lessons but it’s yet to happeng

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  33. corrie weaver says:

    I want to learn how to start a blog

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  34. I want to learn to play the guitar and knit. And I am going to.

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  35. Hi Jen, great skill to learn! I want to have a vegetable garden and then can my own veggies. I also want to learn fluent spanish.

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  36. I would like to learn to sew. For real. I’ve tried before, but always taken on a challenge much too big. I’d like to learn to make pillows and fun home decor items. Keep saying I will once it get less hectic around here. Yeah right.
    I’d also like to learn to can food, with a veggie garden I’m hoping for a bounty of produce.

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  37. I’m like you, more canning recipes please

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  38. Very inspiring post. Like so many others I want to learn to sew. I would also love to learn photography.

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  39. Hi Jennifer. What a great post. I’m with you, canning is something I’ve always been interested in and never tried. I also want to perfect using my new camera, so photography is the second one. Thanks for thr party and have a great upcoming week-end.

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  40. Jen, I’ve been canning for about 19 years and I’ve only had one jar do what your friend’s did – that I know of. If you are using a water bath and not a pressure canner, the key is keep everything hot – jars, lids, and filling – and process for the recommended time. I know some people just turn their jars upside down to cool off and “they’re fine” but I always think “is saving 20 minutes worth the risk?” for me its not. For our family it has been very worth the effort. I probably have bought 5 jars of jelly in the last 19 yrs. We have wild grapes and wild dewberry growing around here so those costs are very minimal to make the jelly. Here’s a dewberry jam post http://www.schneiderpeeps.com/2011/04/dewberries.html and here’s a grape jelly post http://www.schneiderpeeps.com/2011/06/wild-grape-jelly.html .

    I’ve just started venturing into canning with a pressure canner and canned some green beans from our garden. I also canned some venison to free up freezer space.

    I’ve been dehydrating squash and zucchini like crazy. I’ll use it in soups that fall and winter.

    I hope you do venture into canning, it really is a good investment of time, esp. if you can get the kids involved.

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    Jen Reply:

    Oh Angi – 19 years? You are the expert. I really want to learn with the pressure canner, so I will make sure and let you know how it goes. I do think that the moldy thing I received must have been a fluke after reading everyone’s comments. :)

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  41. I do want to learn canning but it has always scared me! And I need to work on crocheting again. But I think I really want to make my own soap. I might try it out this Summer.

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