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For several years now I have talked about doing it.
Toyed with taking a class.
I even sat through a YouTube video demo about "putting up" my home grown tomatoes.
Even so, the idea of me home preserving the fruits and veggies I grow here hasn't come to fruition yet.
When I share my reservations about dangerous home preservations -- serving up home grown botulism in a jar or can -- out loud with my food friends, these amateur canners, picklers, fermenters and so on always look at me cockeyed.
And, they usually interject that extending the life of your produce can take a lot of forms, and isn't hard to do. That statement is invariably followed by this one: countless generations of women and men have been "putting up" jars and jars of jams, jellies, pickled veggies and shelf stable containers of tomatoes and fruits in their kitchens, so why can't you? Underscoring that point, they add in that right now is the perfect time to engage in this age-old agrarian practice, because it is a treat to pull out a jar of whatever after the season in which it was locally grown has waned.
Sometimes, I simply make vitamin-rich tomato juice we drink in a day.
One of my University of Illinois Extension Master Gardner buds says she enjoys the smoky taste of sun dried tomatoes, and uses her dehydrator to do that.
This weekend I'm hoping to try that, too. But instead of cluttering up my kitchen with one more gadget, I plan to use the oven method, even though it does take hours and hours.
Please don't wonder if I'm ranting or whining. Just know that I am.
I'm not comfortable with the canning thing yet.
I know, I know: I should be making batches of them shelf stable. That's the thrifty and sustainable thing to do, and the whole reason I'm doing all this edible gardening.
Is it time for me to rethink and overcome this "canphobia" of mine?
Answer Book 2016
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2016 Answer Book, please click here.
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