Canning and preserving delicacies from our gardens, trees and livestock through the winter months can be a daunting task if you don’t know how to properly go about it. Everyone who endeavors to do this will need a canning machine of some sort!
At one time my father decided to increase the size of our garden by at least double but there was a lot of creek bed brush, trees, vines and everything else that grows over time in an un-kept creek bank and bottom!
With no machinery, it became my father’s, brothers and my task of clearing the new ground! If you don’t know what new ground is, you probably never had to do any gardening or farming to keep food on the table!
The definition for breaking or clearing new ground varies in the dictionary but in our day it meant, taking an ax, mattock, shovel, handsaw, and hoe to the area that needed cleaned up and begin the task of cutting, digging up by the roots, and cultivating the area so it could be used to grow garden food.
Many trees, bushes and other rooted greenery were dug around and rooted up in a process called “grubbing”. This is when you remove the object, roots and all. This makes for a smoother transition when you begin plowing.
It took us the better part of the fall and spring to accomplish the task but when we got done, what a garden plot! I was big! We grew Sweet Corn, Field Corn (For feeding the livestock), several kinds of green beans, potatoes, okra, water melons, cabbage, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, etc. Our garden was full to the max!
At harvest time we would gather the corn, beans, etc. and the preserving would begin. I can remember many times of an evening neighbors would gather around on our porch and help string and break beans or participate in some other chore.
Canning and freezing was a big thing then but mostly canning. I think my mother could can anything! She grew up a time when everything was used and nothing was thrown out! If they thought it could be used some time in the future, they kept it! Old clothes became wash rags, quilts, cleaning rags, etc.
I still remember as a child the top of our closet being so full of old worn out quilts, clothes, etc. We could not use the top of our closet for all the stuff up there that my mother kept back. It came from habit of never having enough and worrying about running out of what little you did have!
Anyway, back to the canning! We had a wonderful canning machine, a big #3 wash tub that we canned in (This also doubled as a bathtub and washing machine in the winter). This one does not run on electricity like the one at the end of this article. It was purely manual from start to finish! I don’t remember just how many quart jars it held but it was our job as the boys to keep the fire going under it.
Saturday Bath. Photograph, ca. 1909. Children taking the weekend bath!
We had rocks placed in 3 places and leveled so the tub would sit level on top of them and have room for us to add more wood to the fire so the water would boil continuously until the cans were sealed and cooked to perfection!
To look back now and remember the rags placed around the inside of the tub and in between the jars, it humbles me and makes me respect my parents so much more.
The lives they lived was hard work and sweat but it was honest, happy, and full of laughter and love! Oh, the sacrifices they made for us! If we had just been old enough to appreciate it then!
Canning was an event around our house! Everyone participated and did their part! All kinds of stuff had to be done to can! Wood gathering, jars washed and sterilized, rags gathered, water hauled in buckets from the well, beans, filling the jars to the top to get any and all air out that you possibly could, and much more!
A lot of work went on around our place in the time of harvest and fall of the year. You see, we raised hogs also and this was our winters meat. That is another story, when hog killin’ time came around! Meats and all were canned and everything but the hoofs were used! Our Home Canning Machine was like everything else if it could be used for many purposes, it was!
Check out our canning guides on the blog.
Have you ever been interested in canning but just didn’t know how?
The New Ball Book of Canning is also a very good source. this book has many, many new recipes and how to’s in it. We hope you enjoy it very much.
These will be very helpful to you if you are considering canning for the first time.
Don’t get excited! This is not a new fangled bath tub for you to lounge in!
What is a water bath canner? It is a very large canner that will normally hold up to 7 quart jars of produce. The canner will be large enough so that 1 – 2 inches of water will cover your jars and most come with a rack to sit on the bottom of the canner to keep your jars from touching the bottom of the canner. This rack will also assist you in submerging the jars and removing them without having to handle them while hot.
I just love fresh Jellies and Jam’s! Nothing better on a hot biscuit!
This is a device that will assist you in making Jams and Jellies without all the hassle of the old methods. Back in the day, we had to build a fire and keep it stoked in order to can stuff! Then we progressed to the stove top and now we have moved right along to an electric Jam and Jelly Canner.
Nope, we are really not trying to “pressure” you into purchasing this! Pun intended! 😉
Just like it states, this cans by pressure cooking the product in your canner. Some of the older ones could be extremely dangerous! There have been people killed and severely hurt by some of the older canners without the new safety devices.
The video bleow shows the difference in a couple of canning machines and it is loaded with great information. If you are interested in canning several jars, this is a must video to watch.
If you have stories or canning recipes you would like to share with our readers, please feel free to contact us on our Contact Us Page or leave a comment in the field below.
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