My first memories of canning involve lots of tears. It wasn’t anything painful or traumatizing (well, maybe a little), it was the onions. You see, my mom only canned two things; strawberry jam and tomato sauce. It was the sauce that did me in. It wasn’t the sort of cheerful 1950’s sitcom experience you’d like it to be. It was an all day exhausting exercise in food preservation. The recipe didn’t call for mere cups of vegetables, rather the ingredients were measured in bushels. The tomatoes were halved and thrown in a pot to cook until squishy and then run through a hand-crank (my hand thank-you-very-much) food mill to remove the seeds and skin. The same happened with the onions and green peppers. We’d take turns chopping and running outside with tears burning our eyes from cutting pound after pound of onions. The house was hot and steamy and we all emerged limp and lightly coated with a sticky vegetable residue. I remember making the sauce much more than eating it.
You probably know that autumn is a busy time of year. The overflowing garden and orchards are keeping us all busy with canning, pickling, freezing, fermenting, you name it.