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Volume II
October 7, 2006

Ready to Can

My mom and I can a lot each year. In 2003, she was injured severely in a fall and I took over all the gardening and canning except for 1 cooker of squash she did the day she fell.

I learned a lot while canning over 700 qts. that summer. The first one was, get a bigger stove! Having 3 canners on at once is dicey with a 30" range. I have a larger one now. Our canning season is over for the year in East Texas. The drought ended it about 2 months early.

When you have a lot or even small amounts of fruit/berries, etc., and are pressed for time, you can cook them and strain the juice and freeze or can it for jellies. I also cooked & canned it with sliced fruit and berries to use later for cobblers and jams.

Beans, peas, squash & okra did not always have enough ripe to make a full cooker. I snapped or shelled beans and peas, blanched and froze until I had enough for a full cooker. Squash & okra were washed, sliced, breaded and frozen on a wax paper lined cookie sheet then frozen. Some was sliced, blanched then frozen for canning later. As the tomatoes ripened, I canned them using the okra and onions to make okra gumbo. At the end of the season, I used a lot of the left over small bags of frozen items to can homemade soup.

Now that summer is ending, I will have more time to finish canning the items that are blanched and frozen. Some will be left for use straight from the freezer. And if we run out of jams and jellies, it will be a snap to open a couple of qts of juice to make fresher. And usually canning ingredients and accessories are cheaper during winter.

C. Kilmer

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