Canning and pickling are in my blood. From July to September, you’ll find me sterilizing jars, simmering sauces, and turning every wayward vegetable scarp into a pickle.
Maybe I owe my stubborn canning habit to my Midwestern upbringing. My college friend Tiffany used to travel home to Eastern Michigan on early autumn weekends to help her family preserve the food grown on her family farm. She, her mother, and aunt would gather in her Grandma Stella’s basement, which was specially outfitted for canning. They sweated away their weekends filling caseloads of jars which were then split evenly amongst the relatives. Towards the end of our college years, Tiffany’s mother, Jude, fell ill with cancer. But even in her weakened state, Jude would lay on the couch in the canning kitchen and direct the others.
Fifteen years ago, after both Tiffany’s mother and grandmother had died, the family gathered to clean out the canning kitchen. To Tiffany, these jars were the most precious jewels she could have inherited. She would be able to eat meals made by her mother’s hands long after the final time she’d held them.
Preserving food has never been just about staving off winter starvation. If we have nothing saved for tomorrow, we’ll also have nothing to leave behind.
What is an 18(02) post without your bonus 02!