The Last of the Catchup (Ketchup?)

IMG_7284Happy Leap Day! This is officially my last post about my 30 Before 30.It’s the last of the catchup due to life, my epic creative writing project, hubby’s nightshift rotation, and my own typical procrastination. Henceforth (don’t you love old fashioned words?), we’ll be working on the 30 During 30 and then shifting to a general bucket list for life.

I closely associate canning with growing up in the South on a farm.I know it’s a staple of life everywhere. Yet there’s something about food in jars, that raised word M-A-S-O-N, that takes me back to humid summer evenings and we’re-going-to-have-snow-it-never-snows type days one can only experience in this area. Sweet pickles. Canned tomatoes. Vegetable soup. Kraut. Jars of peaches.

To say I never canned anything before would be a half-truth. I never canned anything on my own. Yet, I grew up helping my grandparents can items from their farm without ever really thinking about it. Since there was a grocery store down the road, I never actively thought, I’ll have to do this on my own someday. This was before natural, organic, non-GMOs, locally sourced, farm-to-table.

IMG_7939However, after moving into an apartment, I discovered I really missed gardening. College BIO class peeked my interested in the science behind farm-to-table. A presentation at the Decatur Book Festival made me realize farming could be quite hipster. This combo, along with a growing interest in cooking, led me to add “5.) Can something” to the 30 Before 30.

I thought this would be an easy one. Knowing I could phone it in with my grandmother’s help. I thought we had more time. Not making this one a priority and taking more photos with her, are two of my biggest regrets. The item transformed from “something-I’ll-do-with-her-this-fall” to an heirloom mantle I found myself ill prepared to experiment with on my own.

I suddenly felt like Henny Penny. No one wanted to help me, but everyone was ready with some terrible story about hot cans blowing up in someone-they-used-to-know’s face. It started to feel like “Canning something” and “Hot Air Balloon Ride” were two items out of my reach. I’m sensitive anyways and started to despair that I was a failure as a granddaughter and blogger/writer.

But, a trip to a farm supply store really helped me. I bought:

  • A Granite-Ware 21 1/2 Qt Canner with jar rack
  • Ball’s “Complete Book of Home Preserving” edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine

The book was a lifesaver. I tried to make pickles using an Internet recipe but they didn’t turn out great. So, using the book as a guide and Pioneer Woman (she’s great), I decided apple preserves would be a recipe I had confidence in:

  • 6 cups sliced cored peeled apples
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 package regular powdered fruit pectin
  • 1 medium lemon (unpeeled), seeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg

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I know now that I should have peeled my apples. I was thinking about fiber, so I ignored that part of the instructions. There not bad with the peel on…just a little sharp on the tongue.

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So there you have it friends. You can do what you set your mind to do. Take nothing for granted. Rise to the occasion. May you have the best adventures. I’ll be making more preserves this year for 30 During 30!

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