Readers share thoughts on Capper's Farmer Memory Lane department and the rewards of home canning.
I enjoyed the photographs of the old woodstoves featured in Memory Lane in the Winter issue. I’m 73 and have fond memories of the Home Comfort woodstove my mother cooked on. I still remember the warmth it provided, and the amazing smells that came from that stove.
I have the cookbook that came with the stove, and I still use it. The book has a section for preserving many fruits and vegetables. I remember a cabbage-stuffed pepper my mother made. The pepper was stuffed, and then the top was sewn on. Then it was packed in a large jar or crock, and pickled. Imagine my delight when I made this.
I thoroughly enjoy reading Capper’s Farmer.
When I read your invitation in the Fall 2016 issue (Editor’s Note) to share canning experiences, I was excited to respond. When I was growing up, my mother canned the summer bounty. Unfortunately, I didn’t participate, as there was too much fun to be had outside. Fast forward many married years and a few children later, and my interest in canning was piqued.
We lived in an urban area, so using my own garden produce wasn’t an option. Then I read somewhere to find a local market that sells not-so-perfect tomatoes and other produce, purchase them, and can them! I promptly scanned my area for markets, and I also visited thrift stores and yard sales for canning jars and equipment.
I began by canning several quarts of tomatoes weekly, using the bath method. This continued for many years, and I enjoyed it very much. It was by far one of the more satisfying activities I did, and it also made our grocery budget a little easier.
After moving to a different state and joining a local CSA, working four hours a week through the growing season for my share of produce, I started canning different foods, either by the bath method or the pressure cooker method, depending on the type of produce.
My favorite things to can are tomatoes, peppers, green beans, kale, and spinach. It’s rewarding to look on the shelves in the basement in winter, and know that I’m feeding my family healthy food – and I can even say that I grew and harvested it.
The skill of canning is easily self-taught. It’s also a rewarding investment of time, and the dividends are priceless. For recipes, canning methods, and processing times, my favorite book is The Ball Canning Book, but there are countless other books and magazines, including Capper’s Farmer, that are great tools as well. So, whether you purchase produce, grow your own, or participate in a community garden or CSA, canning can have a place in your summer bounty.
Bordentown, New Jersey
In the Winter 2017 issue, in the photo on Page 43 of the Low-Stress Weaning for Livestock article, we incorrectly listed the lambs as Suffolks. We regret the error, and we thank everyone who contacted us to let us know. – Editors
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