Preparing For The Harvest: Canning
Preparing Before It Gets Crazy
I admit that I’m a little OCD about some things, ok, a LOT of things. I keep lists and calendars, and they tend to dictate my life. Recently, my seeds had to be started indoors. Now, their little green heads have popped out of the potting soil and “real” plants have formed! What an exciting time of year!
Soon the garden will be beautiful with the foods we grow to feed our family. Our garden will soon become a busy place to be with planting, weeding, pruning, composting, pest control, and harvesting, OH MY! Right now, my calendar tells me that now is the time to think about preserving that food after the harvest.
This is when I bring my canning supplies out of the basement. I clean everything thoroughly, check the jars for cracks or chips, the rings for rust or other problems. I also check the rubber seal on the pressure canner (and order one, if required), take the canner in for testing at our local extension office, and determine if I have enough supplies to preserve our foods. An inventory of my jars will tell me what I need to buy with respect to jars, lids, and rings.
I always buy a little extra, just in case someone wonderful decides to drop by with a bushel of something amazing for me (actually just because I can get away with it). By the same token, I plan to take some of my canned goods to the elderly in my community. I have my shopping list of jars, lids, and rings. I also need to check for other items I use in canning like spices, vinegar, citrus, pectin, etc. Add this to the shopping list, and off to the store (or computer) I go. I typically buy my jars during online sales because the cost is low, and they are delivered to my door (and hubby doesn’t know exactly what I bought).
At this point, I put everything in the original boxes or plastic tubs (with lids) to prevent them getting dusty or damaged. Because I am older than dirt and too tired to go up and down those stairs to the basement, they are temporarily stored cleverly disguised as a sofa table, and others go under beds on the same level as the kitchen. This task now gets marked off the calendar and to-do list, and I’m ready for my next OCD project.
When do you prepare your equipment for canning?