Marie Antoinette had a dairy cow at one of her country houses so that she and her friends could play milkmaid for fun. I try to remember that when I think that perhaps I am being a bit ridiculous.
Canning is one of those things that make me wonder what I am doing. It is hot, time consuming, and messy. But the real problem I have with it is that I am not poor, I am not dependent on my garden for subsistence, and if I didnt have home canned produce I would fork out the dollar for a can of crushed tomatoes and get some at the store. It feels pretentious, in the the truest sense of the word. That I am just pretending.
Here is where i could insert some silliness about treading lightly upon the earth and being self sufficient. The truth is, I don’t believe that. I don’t think canning peppers and tomatoes has any positive effect on the earth, nor will they save me in the event of economic collapse. I don’t even think self sufficiency is a noble goal.
I can extra produce because I have the time and the materials, and because I like it. Why canning? Why sunflowers, or dogs, or golf? I find it satisfying, and the end result gives me joy. It is a natural extension of the garden. There is no way around having too much produce to eat fresh. When gardening is your hobby, every summer evening you are bringing in a basket that looks like this. You can either give it away, preserve it in some manner, or throw it out.
So maybe doing this is a waste of time. But not doing it would also be a complete waste–of tomatoes.
Enough talk. Now some links!
Here are some of my favorite recipes.
They are all ones we actually use up, and have made over and over. None require a pressure canner.
Smooth Pizza Sauce (I do this in half pint jars, which is enough for two large pizzas, but the recipe calls for full pints)
America’s Test Kitchen has the best strawberry jam recipe, but it is only available to subscribers.