Canning: a lost art

I spent my falls, for as long as I can remember, canning and processing the fruits and vegetables from out garden. My Dad has been canning his whole life and was taught by his parents while they were still farming. Its a lost art that not many people know about or really understand. It is so rewarding to grow and eat your own food deep into the winter and for years to come. We make countless hot sauces, relishes, can green beans, carrots and much more. The sight of the colorful jars lining the shelves continuously brings a smile to my face.

canning shelves

Weeks at the end of summer are dedicated to this wonderful “old school” task.

I think its sad that many people don’t process their own food anymore. We rely so heavily on the supermarkets that fresh home grown food is hardly seen.  I am so grateful that this tradition has been passed down to me.

My family has always strived to be as self sufficient as possible. I suppose it starts back with the farming culture that dates back generations.  My ancestors first came to Montana over a hundred years ago from Norway and we had farmed the same land up until a few years ago when the farm was sold to a Hutterite Colony.

Our tradition of growing, preserving, and processing our own food has long continued. From the raspberry patch in our backyard my Mom and I make the most delicious jam and therefore can’t eat store bought jam anymore because it doesn’t stand up.  We also buy a pig from a friend of ours who raises them as a 4H project. We process all the meat ourselves (minus the hams and bacon which is processed at a local place) and make sausage and other fun things. My Dad also occasionally goes to Queen Charlotte British Columbia to fish for king salmon, which we then process and sometimes smoke ourselves. This meat tastes so much better than anything store bought and it is really satisfying to know where it came from. Its also cheaper per pound than store bought.

Hunting is also a large tradition in my family and my Brother and Dad go out each year.  What they get provides for most of our hamburger throughout the year.

My Dad also likes to grow his own hopps and brew his own beer. It is a fun experience to learn the whole process and be a part of something like that. Appreciate the Homebrew.

All of this gives fall a warm and fuzzy feeling and I am excited to pass these traditions onto my future family. I think its important to appreciate home made and home grown and also to support the local markets and local bushiness.

Its all a lost art and it saddens me that this culture may one day disappear.

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One thought on “Canning: a lost art”

  1. My Grandmother made her own preserves from the fruit she grew. Best stuff you’d put in your mouth. Now that she’s gone, nobody knows how to make that or any of her famous dishes. It’s a little sad really.

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