Tag Archives: sustainable living

Adventures in Canning.

I may not be a New Year’s resolution kind of lady, but I am all about setting goals. For the first time in ten years, my goals have nothing to do with academia or earning a degree. My goals are purely passions, interests, and desires I have. How self indulgent!

On the eve of 2014, I huddled over a notebook and poured out creative idea after idea. In the blink of an eye, the notebook was jam-packed full of things I want to learn and need to have a handle on prior to starting my farm.

With one homesteading goal crossed off my list {baking breads from scratch}, it was time to choose the next. And what better goal to conquer than one that makes you shake in your boots and requires safety goggles that give you fits of laughter?

That’s right, the time had come to conquer water bath canning. Don’t even mention pressure canning to me yet. That’s a mini-heart attack waiting for another day.

After receiving my handy-dandy safety goggles from my boyfriend, and repeatedly reviewing the steps out loud and in written form, I was ready. We chose canned apples in light, homemade syrup for the first adventure; after all, even if the canning went awry, who couldn’t eat a few cans’ worth of apple slices over the course of a day or two?

Apples Prepped for Canning / from TheSirensTale.com

The Good: Once again, I was reminded what an amazing team my beau and I make. Anytime two people work side-by-side with an unspoken rhythm and groove, it’s a beautiful thing.

My guy coached me through each canning step as I frantically ran about, yelling out random kitchen utensils as if I were a surgeon dealing with life-or-death crisis: “Where’s the tong-thing? Tongs! Tongs! I need tongs!”

He even sat patiently with me as I wrung my hands like an expectant mother, worried that I would over-or-under process the cans. What a guy.

Boiling Cans / from TheSirensTale.com

The Bad: Life should offer separate directions for anyone who has stayed in college too long. After ten years of collegiate life, I’ve become far too analytical. I almost botched the entire canning adventure because I was knee-deep in figuring out the real “look” of simmer versus boil.

Again getting caught up in details, I was stumped about when to drop the canning rack into the water with the filled cans. Will the cans cool down too much and smash? Do I only count the minutes once it’s at a full boil? Will my canned food kill off all my loved ones with a horrific bacteria?

You know, normal concerns.

Canned Apples / from TheSirensTale.com

The Lessons: In the end, all the cans sealed properly, but my apples rose to the top. I’m thankful this experience taught me the difference between raw packing and hot packing, and for delicious apples through the next few months.

Learning how to can also taught me to stop making infinite lists of mental questions, and start using common sense when it comes to homesteading. Homesteading isn’t found in books, analytic reports, or academic studies… it’s a practice of the soul and heart. It’s felt.

What homesteading blunders have you made?
What’s the scariest goal you’ve conquered lately?