I recently had someone refer to canning as a “lost art.” I snickered to myself that for us homesteaders, it is not an art, it is a tradition. It has function and purpose. Its history goes back generations to women who stood around boiling, hot pots filled with jars in order to preserve a bit of goodness after the harvest months had long faded away.
Then I remembered, canning was more than that to me–not an “art” persay, but a spiritual connection with God, a form of meditation, and a connection to simple living.
If you’ve never canned, you really must give it a try. It is an opportunity to take everything you love about gardening/farming and summer and put it away for a day when you are tired of the cold rain or snow and want to remember the taste of sunshine and harvest and creation.
To can or preserve, you will use the following:
- lots of hot water and lots of Mason or Ball jars
- delicious fruit or vegetables
- recipes passed down from generation to generation
- a bit of patience and some creativity
- a good canning pot, preferably enamel, a funnel, a magnet stick to remove hot lids, and a canning jar lifter/tongs
For me, canning has become a way to honor family traditions while engaging in a simple and healthy lifestyle. After I mastered my own canning routine, I could literally put away a batch of jam or marinara while my daughter was in the shower at night.
That routine has become somewhat like the liturgy and ritual of a worship service. I connect with creation, I honor and nurture it. I pray over it. I hold it close, then I put it up on my shelf or in my windows to be honored, eaten and shared with friends and family. Some days when I’m feeling blue, I even put a few jars of various kinds of jam in the window–the sun shining through it creates stained glass made of sugar and fruit in the sanctuary of my homesteading kitchen.
Recently, I sent out an email and Facebook post asking if anyone wanted to take a canning class–I would teach if they would come. Within the hour, I had 11 people reply with a resounding “YES!” So canning? Not so much a “lost art” as it is a “found treasure” in the world of homesteading.