Canning Memories

    It is funny how family traditions shape you into who you are.
Canning is part of my earliest memories.  Being outside with my bare feet in the soil and picking beans, corn, tomatoes with the itchy leaves, apples, pears, grapes, berries, peppers.  Big heavy baskets so big I couldn’t carry them would be hefted to the kitchen and would line the wall.  Out came the big canners and grandma would be at the sink washing jars while mom and dad prepped the food and we would help. Red hands from peeling tomatoes and sticky fingers from shucking corn.  These are the things that made our childhood.

Learning how to love the land and how to provide for the family by hard work and a great imagination.  It is something I can’t imagine not having in my life and it has made me feel confident
as I get older that I will be able to one day provide for my own family. The joy of having some piping hot tomato soup and a grilled cheese in the frigid wintery months right out of our summer garden.  It is a blessing that keeps on giving.

Grandma lost her mother when she was very young so she learned the canning process from an older sister Anna (who all three of the Cottage Girls are named for and she is named after her Aunt with the same name AND we were born on her birthday). There are no photos of them canning but I can imagine there were hours of sweat and laughter involved. Hard work glues the family together and these are precious times and lasting memories.


Great Aunt Anna
Great Grandma Lula

I am not sure where our great grandma learned the art.  Her own momma died when she was just a little one.  They must have learned from other women in the community.                             Anna had a huge garden and always canned the bounty from it to provide for her family. Pickles and peppers, tomatoes and beans there was never a shortage of goodies there and a rainbow of beauty on her kitchen shelves.  She and her husband dug out a basement under their home to make a kitchen for canning.

Grandma loved the garden and she was always out in it.  We, girls, loved to plant seed packs in the plastic pony packs and we would help grandma water and care for them.  She taught us how to treat them and love on them so they would provide for us. She had a green thumb to be sure.

She passed that love to our mom too. She taught her the secret of a great home canned salsa and the love that goes into home canning.

We caught on right there at her knee.   Mom and grandma never kept us away from the kitchen, we were cooking and baking very young. It was a gift.  We thought it was just normal, every child was raised this way.

But later, we discovered the gift.

This is one of our canning labels. Brianna is the one in the sailor suit, doesn’t she look adorable?

Blooper reel! “Mommy it fell… down there…”

 Excuse the bad hair but if the table is no hint it had been a very long day… Herbs drying on the wall and a huge haul of blackberries and raspberries in the basket. Beans, cucumbers kale, peppers beans, broccoli. What a day!
Look at all of that wonderful food.  The best part is sharing with your friends and neighbors.

Mr. Cottage the comic… Shhh! Don’t tell him we posted this!

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