I’ve written about canning. I’ve published articles by canning experts. You might even say I’m a “pusher” of canning. But I haven’t been very good at doing it myself. Now I know why. You shouldn’t can alone. It’s an activity best done with others.
I discovered this while making applesauce with my friend, Susan, this past Saturday. She being the experienced one, showed me from start to finish how to create sweet, lovely applesauce (no sugar added!). Yes, it’s a lot of work and many hands do make it lighter. But there is something about spending an afternoon in the kitchen working side-by-side with a friend. Not frantic, like you’ve got dinner to serve in 3 hours, but the kind of mindless, relaxed cooking where you can chat, share stories, or just work quietly.
Over the course of the afternoon, Susan shared her memories. About her late husband, sitting at the table, cutting up apples. Nieces and nephews, still young enough to enjoy working by their aunt’s side, under her quiet direction: “Stir the apples, so they don’t burn.” “Make sure the jar tops are completely clean, or the lids won’t seal.” “Did you hear that pop? That means it’s sealed!” Mixed in with all the useful tips were stories about her mistakes too. The time she used apples that were so hard they broke the food mill (according to her husband; Susan’s still not ready to accept his judgment).
By the end of the afternoon, we had a dozen and a half pints of applesauce, varying in color from blush to gold, still warm in their jars. It was a windy, cold and wet day outside, but the steamed up kitchen windows blocked it all out, and I felt warm instead. We sat down to a well-deserved lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches accompanied by fresh applesauce.
I learned a lot about canning, and feel more confident to do it myself. But I don’t think I will do it alone. I’ll invite a friend or two, or maybe a niece or goddaughter to help me, and, hopefully, create some of my own canning memories.
Since I’m certainly no canning diva, I’ll just share some of my visual memories of our applesauce afternoon. See our previous post about canning expert, Marian Bolum, Farm to Jars, to learn more about canning and preserving.
Okay. So I might have gone a little crazy with the apples from Manoff’s…