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“I’m Gonna Pop Some Cans – Only Got 20 Lbs of Strawberries”

“Whatchu know about making jam? Whatchu know about doing some can-nin’?”

This guy gets it...

This guy gets it…

OK. I’m done with the Macklemore references.

It all started when…..
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We got invited to a blueberry farm with some friends last year & we froze most of our bounty. It far from lasted us through the winter, but it was a start. It doesn’t SEEM like freezing really counts, but I think it does. If you deliberately stock up on produce for the purpose of freezing it, I write that as a self-preserving win. Freezing has its drawbacks, but this is true for all forms of stockpiling.

Later in the summer, Mr. Ender’s boss swung by a roadside stand & snuck a box of apples & pears into the back of our car. Did I say box? I meant a banana-shipment size box, half full. It was probably the end of that summer (before we even started blogging or fully committed actually), I decided that I needed to learn to can because all I could think to do with this huge box was make applesauce & pear butter — but had no means of keeping it from going bad quickly.

Canning!? Isn’t that… like… what Grandmas do so they can gift you jelly for Christmas?
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Well, yeah. But canning is actually SUPER cool. If you are going to be self reliant & don’t want to eat hearty crops of kale & broccoli ALL winter long, canning is totally the way to go.

So, how DID our first venture into canning go?

I present: Danny & Brian’s Adventure into Midnight Canning

Mash ALL THE BERRIES!

Mash ALL THE BERRIES!

Boil & add nearly a friggin bag of sugar & whatever the hell 'pectin' is

Boil & add nearly a friggin bag of sugar & whatever the hell ‘pectin’ is

Sanitize for safety!

Sanitize for safety!

Learn how to eyeball 1/4 inch of head space

Learn how to eyeball 1/4 inch of head space

Scald your face on steam trying to dump the things back into the bath canner

Scald your face on steam trying to dump the things back into the bath canner

Attempt not to burn one self, thy spouse & give plenty of room in case you drop it & it kersplodes all over the floor

Attempt not to burn one self, thy spouse & give plenty of room in case you drop it & it kersplodes all over the floor

Listen to the POPs & admire your handy work

Listen to the POPs & admire your handy work

Wake up & cringe the next morning at insane amount of dishes

Wake up & cringe the next morning at insane amount of dishes

All in all, I’d call this a success. I was told by veteran canners that I was going to have a love-hate relationship with canning. I find this to be true. I love the end results. Seriously. Best damn jam I’ve ever had in my LIFE. I love feeling like I accomplished something awesome. I love that my husband took interest in doing this. Much like myself, he enjoys learning. The nerd in him says, “This is chemistry! I f*ing love chemistry!” The future farmer in him says, “This is smart, economic & necessary”. I hate how hot it made the apartment. I cannot believe you crazy heads down south where it’s like 80,000 degrees actually do this in the dead of summer! We were dripping buckets of sweat & the house was so disgustingly humid after we were done, we both had issues getting to sleep. I hate that my kids aren’t the type to listen when I say “GET OUT OF THE WAY! Boiling strawberry jam crossing! Unless you want to look like that Rocky kid from Mask, get the hell out of the way!”, so if I want to can…. I get to can at midnight. And dishes… they suck! Among other things I hate: the inability to reuse lids, not knowing what people used instead of pectin back in the day, pressure canning scaring the hell out of me &… the fact I waited so long to try this!

It really was a lot of fun & I’m excited to share with my friends & fam bam.

I seriously walked out of the kitchen & strutted into the bedroom like this…

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Yeahhhh, boyyyy!

PS: I’d also like to give a super big shout out to the following people who helped me BIG on this one….

– Sherry Brooks Vinton, whom I saw at Mother Earth Newsfair first thing, first day & it was like a sign. I said I was gonna do it & I needed to get on it.
– “Pammykins”, my heterosexual life mate & probably the greenest Mama I know. Thank-you for rolling your eyes at my bazillion questions behind the computer screen rather than in my face ;D You said, “JUST DO IT ALREADY!” & I DID IT!!
– Auntie Amy: Couldn’t of done this without you…. rather, I couldn’t of done this without your potato masher & ladle after I got started & realized I didn’t own these particularly handy kitchen utensils.
– The Dickinsons for helping us pick 17 lbs worth of strawberries at Biringer Farms.
& of course, Mr. Enders… Always willing to get his hands dirty with all my crazy ideas. You? Me? Pineapple chunks in quart jars? Tonight? ;D

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