I love eating home canned food. Green beans, pears, peaches, spaghetti sauce, and corn taste much better when grown and preserved at home than when purchased at the grocery store. Growing up, I spent a good deal of my summers helping my mom raise a garden, pick the produce, and either freeze or can the fruits and vegetables to be used throughout the rest of the year. To be completely honest, canning was the most dreaded, wretched, unpleasant experience of my childhood. I hated it. Everything about it. Planting the garden, weeding the garden–oh, I really really detested pulling weeds–picking beans or tomatoes, peeling the peaches and pears, shucking piles upon piles of corn, walking over a juice stained floor, I hated the whole experience. My mom seemed like an irrational-home-canning-nut to my little self. I remember the shocked looks on my friends’ faces when I showed them our storage room, or as they called it “our food mall.” They couldn’t believe we had so much food tucked away in our basement or that we very rarely “ran out” of anything. My mom was–well actually still is–the master of preparedness; whether it be food or household items she always has a stash somewhere in the house. I’ll admit I grew up pretty spoiled in that relatively anything I could think up for dinner or a snack was available at all times. I struggled learning to cook at college where things like flour, butter, sugar, or chocolate chips were not simply a short walk to the basement away.
Somewhere between my childhood and adolescent detestation of canning and where I am now (I guess young motherhood???) I decided to inflict dreaded awfulness of canning upon myself and my little family. In a nut shell, or more timely a peach pit, Ty and Henley hate canning. Ty hates the mess and heat and Henley hates being banned from the kitchen and playing by herself. But they both like the food. I still love home-canned food and I’m actually learning to enjoy raising and caring for a garden and storing the food. Henley will probably grow up much like I did, with a strong loathing of bottling fruit, but I think somehow it builds character. Hee hee. Or something like that. I know I’m grateful for my mom teaching me how to grow and store my own food and I’m hoping my kids make it out of my house with the same sense of appreciation. Though they very well may adopt my grandmother’s motto “Why on earth would someone spend all that time canning when you can buy it from the store?!”