Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ramping up to can

This time of the year is difficult for me. It is the time for gardening and harvesting and meals from the garden to the table and canning. My grandmother was my go to source for all things of this nature. A West Virginia farm girl she was and one of the wisest women I have ever known. When the hub and I were first married, we lived in a tiny little house on a big piece of land. We worked and toiled until we had a large(for two people)garden plowed and ready to plant. After mapping out what we wanted, we started little seedlings in mini greenhouse boxes in our mudroom. Our garden had tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, okra, cucumbers and green beans. When things started blooming and producing, I would call Granny to ask her if I needed to do anything special to the plants or when certain veggies were ready. That summer we canned tomatoes, pepper jelly, grape juice from grapes some friends gave us and peaches. My grandmother delighted in every call for recipes or measurements or technique about canning. This year we have the potential to have about 600 cucumbers and I feel a few batches of pickles coming on. I picked up the phone to call about her favorite pickle recipe. She had been gone almost 4 years and I still pick up the phone to call her with questions and concerns and "gossip" and celebrations. Instead, I have consulted the Ball Blue Book and my sister in law for information and help. While I'm excited to try something new to can, it will be bittersweet without her input. I am grateful to be the only granddaughter of a farm girl and I'm honored to share her knowledge with my children. Fingers crossed that the pickles are crisp and the dill is, um, dilly enough. It'll be a fun experiment either way.

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