Growing up in the country a couple of miles outside of the city limits of Hobbs, New Mexico, we were accustomed to fresh produce form our gardens. In addition my mom canned and froze much of the vegetables we grew. Every summer we sat on the porch as we still do at Gramma’s house, shucking corn, shelling peas, scrubbing potatoes. Inside, jars and lids are prepared while a huge pot on the stove simmers next to the pressure cooker .
My husband and I bought a home in February and within two weeks of having our baby, I was outside planting the garden. I have put away a very small variety of vegetables but this year is just an experiment. It is my first experience with canning although I have made jelly over the past few years.
I love things homemade. Recently I was talking to a friend by phone and we were discussing cooking and how many people these days, particularly women who don’t cook and don’t know how much less want to cook. That led to the next subject: survival. Do you have what it takes to survive if your source of income was taken away and you had to live off the land? Not to get to extreme, would you know what to do with some vegetable garden plants, utensils, and a summer to prepare?
I can’t say I am a pro at this by any means, but I love doing it. I have control over what goes into my foods in terms of preservatives, salt, etc. I also control preserving how my food tastes. I tend to buy too much food when I go to Sprouts in Dallas or at the local farmers markets in the rural areas. And I really hate anything going to waste. Now that I am learning to do my own canning, I am turning this preservation method into culinary art.
The photo above is of my very first jars of black eyed peas from my first garden at this home. There is nothing special about these peas in terms of seasonings. The first day of every year, our family eats black eyed peas traditionally. I don’t know why but it’s just what we do and we always look forward to it.
Now, I’ve got about 16 cups of blackberries in my freezer from this season. I will be adding to it. But first, tonight, I must make my own blackberry sorbet.