Welcome to the Canning Season website and podcast. I'm John Gavin and I set up this site to pass on information and, hopefully, create a sense of community for folks like us who enjoy making and sharing home canned goods.
I canned my first item in the summer of 2006. It was bread-and-butter pickles. I still have the ladle that got stained orange by the turmeric! Since then, I've learned a lot and experimented a lot. I also ruined a lot of stuff through the mistakes I made. You'll get to hear all about that and so much more through this blog and the Canning Season podcast over at iTunes.
Why Home Canning is Awesome
As I got into home canning, six themes emerged that bring me back, with great joy, to each year's new canning season. They are:
- Immersing oneself in a day of home canning feels good. I have an intense day job. No matter how much traveling I do, or how busy I am, there's nothing like putting up a batch of my homemade peaches, raspberry jam, or whatever, to help me forget about all that. It always makes me feel good. Tired, sure, but that sense of accomplishment when you have a counter full of jars cooling off is just awesome!
- There is a spiritual element to home canning. Perhaps because it's so closely tied to the the harvest, home canning cannot help but put you in touch with the rhythms of nature and life. In that respect, it puts you in touch with something bigger than yourself. Between tweets, texts, and annoying pings of all kinds, I find it's good for the soul to step back to look at the big picture every now and again.
- You control the ingredients that go into your food. In a world where some of the food companies can seem more like chemical companies, it's nice to keep your food simple, nutritious, and chemical-free.
- There is a social element to home canning that comes from the sharing of the same. This one initially surprised me. Now it gives delight. I was a volunteer firefighter for 20 years. While on active duty I was well known for the peaches I canned each year. Friends and family routinely ask about what I'm canning on the hope there will be more goodies for them. Much as I love canning -and eventually eating (!) - great stuff, sometimes I think I take more joy in sharing it with others. It certainly goes through my mind while making it, that's for sure!
- Home canning is part of a wonderful tradition that is great to keep and pass on. Whenever I teach community ed classes on home canning, stories often arise from my students of Grandma or Mother (how about grandpa or dad!?!) who canned foods. I had a wonderful day canning applesauce myself with three of my God-children last fall. One of the girls is 14 now and eager to learn how to make pickles. I can't wait to teach her.
- There's a genuine sense of community to home canning. While it's true that I learned how to can on my own, I must confess to having help along the way. Wilma at the Farmer's Market gave me her great salsa recipe and her tips on how to "get it just right". She's also my go-to person each year when it's time to buy the peaches. My wonderful neighbor Marge, who has been canning far longer than I ever will, made my efforts so much better through ever so gently offering her helpful pointers and tips through each of the canning seasons since I first started. Even my dear friend Howard, who helped free one of the concentraion camps during WWII, talks wistfully of canning all kinds of goodies in his first years back home after the war. We all loved hearing those stories. Now Howard gives me tips instead and, of course, always enjoys eating what I make!
We have a lot ahead of us and I have a lot of great information to pass on. I give you my commitment to make this the best site on home canning and food preservation that I can. In return I hope you'll tell others and join in the conversation. Will you help me?
Again, welcome to the Canning Season website. I'm looking forward to telling you lots of cool stuff and creating a nice community for those of us who love home canning. See you later!
John Gavin (and Philly the dog, of course!)
Plymouth, Minnesota USA