Let’s face it. You’re hooked.
As a public service to those who may be suffering from a compulsive food preservation, or to those genetically susceptible to a canning addiction, I’m offering my own story as a cautionary tale. Don’t let this happen to you. Be proactive. Get professional help if necessary. Be on the lookout for the following signs of a serious canning addiction...
- Since mid-July you’ve had boxes of empty Mason jars and bushels of fruit all over your back porch.
- You are still buying more boxes of empty Mason jars and bushels of fruit.
- You wake up in the morning thinking about blanching peaches.
- You believe the words blanching, de-seeding, and rolling boil have a musical quality to them.
- You have a tell-tale track of tiny scars running up your arms from stirring spitting-hot jam.
- One Saturday you spend the entire afternoon making spaghetti sauce—a process that begins with a truckload of tomatoes and 15 other ingredients like “one cup of dried basil” and after several hours of slicing and mixing and simmering and submersing in a boiling-water bath leaves you with a grand total of three jars—and you feel this was a half-day well spent.
- You begin envying your neighbor’s pressure canner and consider breaking into her kitchen just to “try it out.”
- You think of every batch of dishes as another chance to heat up some jars.
- You hang out with friends who say things like, “there’s no sound in the world more satisfying than the pop of a hot jar of jam sucking in its lid”
- And you totally agree.
- In your parents’ new beautiful 4,000 square food home, the thing you covet most is the cold storage room under their porch.
- You know that all Mason jars are not alike and you find yourself caressing the ones from the 1970s with stars on the front.
- Your new most prized possessions—after the kids of course—are the antique Mason jars (the ones that once belonged to your grandma) that you appropriated in a late-night raid of your mother’s basement.
- You deny the obvious reality that, given the proper case-lot sale, you could buy all of this food for less money than it’s costing you to bottle it yourself. Instead, you insist that it’s good for the environment, better tasting, and makes you really really happy. And you mean it. Because you sense—as you lift those jars out of their water bath, set them in a row on your kitchen counter, check the seals, and admire the fruits of your labor—that you are participating in some kind of age-old ritual. That you are your grandmother’s granddaughter. That you are preserving more than food.