To Can, or Not to Can …

To Can, or Not to Can …


Jeez oh Pete, so spring is here, and it seems to have brought along the first “canning is dumb” article. This year it’s at Slate, where last summer, it was at Salon. I’ve addressed this subject once already, last summer, when Salon published a ridiculous piece “debunking” the “myth” that canning will save you money, but I guess if they’re going to write the same article over and over, I’ll have to keep throwing in my two cents.

Canning is useful if you have an excess of something. It’s a method of preservation. If you want to make a hobby out of it, and get all “lifestyle-y” about it and spend too much money and annoy your friends with your esoteric jams, then that’s your business. The rest of us will just keep on keeping on.

Because there are a lot of us out here who still can things because they’re there. I have a yard with rhubarb plants, plum and cherry and apple trees, raspberry bushes and a big veggie garden. I like my own food better than I like most other people’s food, and I seem to be incapable of throwing food out. So I can and pickle and freeze, and then during the rest of the year, I have my own stuff around for gifts or to eat. Sure, it takes a little time, and yes, I give a lot of it away for Christmas, but so far at least, people seem to like their gifts of jam.

And yes, if you’re being all precious about it, and show-offy, then you deserve the scorn of the Slate writer. But most of us out here, who don’t live in tiny New York apartments, aren’t canning out of some retro-impulse. We’re canning because it’s still a practical way to put up excess, and because our Ball jars aren’t lined with Bisphenol-A, and because we just sort of like to.

Debunking my ass. Just wait, this is the summer I’m going to really learn to pickle.

2 thoughts on “To Can, or Not to Can …

  1. Eh, I’m also a fan of esoteric jams. Or pear-ginger-lime marmalade. Mmmmmm…

    And why not? 🙂

    But then, I really, really, really like making things and really, really, really like tasty food exactly how I want it.

  2. When we lived in the Vendee I normally did 30 – 40 jars of pickles, 80or so jars of jam (pear, apple butter, peach, plum, raisin) plus froze bags and bags of tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkin…. Because it was there and, like you, I couldn’t stand to see it go to waste and then spend money buying commercial. Esoteric? Fine, if you have the time. Would I spend money to buy fruit to can? I doubt it. But I’ll grow my own….

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