Sunday Column: Happy canning

Yesterday Husband and I cried together. We stood in the kitchen and tears streamed down our faces, my mascara left black streams down my cheeks. We sniffled, blinked, blubbered, sighed.

We were a mess.

We were slicing onions.

Because Pops had delivered thirty-seven pounds of garden tomatoes to our house and they needed to be dealt with.


And it was raining, so I had no excuse.

I dealt.

So I Googled “blanching” and took out every mixing bowl, pot, knife, seasoning, herb and vegetable I owned and there was no turning back. We were making salsa.


Last weekend it was the plums. All five gallons of them.

There was no crying, but there was seventy-five steps, a foot stomp or two and a mishap with the order of things that resulted in a a good batch of runny syrup.

I blame myself.

On Friday my friend M tried to offer me seventy pounds of zucchini. She gave me twenty-four recipe ideas to try to convince me to take it off her hands.

Zucchini was coming out of her ears she said.

I had to take it, she said.

I will never understand zucchini I said.

Tis the season.

Coming Home: Canning season just means more questions
By Jessie Veeder
Fargo Forum/Dickinson Press

This is what I’m saying.

But the salsa turned out great. And the jelly is sweet.

I’m not so sure about the runny syrup, but I’m gonna eat it, because that was a lot of damn work and to hell if  I’m wasting it.


Happy canning and stuff.

Oh, and good luck with that zucchini.

17 thoughts on “Sunday Column: Happy canning

  1. Canning fun! I’ve heard that you can shred and freeze zucchini. Measure it into allotments you will later bake with, as it’s not good for much other than baking later. We were thinking of making zucchini freezers, cooking then freezing them, so that we can pop them in the microwave or toaster for a quick breakfast side dish.

  2. Jess,
    It is great that you and your Hubby are taking advantage of what the land/family has to offer. Each season the two of you will “fine tune” your plan and soon it will be a smooth operation. Also with each mishap you are building stories that will be shared at the family gatherings. Thanks for sharing. Rich

  3. I live on only a half acre in a rural community in California. My next-door-neighbor has grapes–planted by the previous owner–and they have seeds. I decided to learn how to can. 9 1/2 lbs. of grapes and 14 pints of jelly later I had less-than-firm-but-not-runny jelly. I googled and found out you can “remake” the jelly! So, I remade 7 pints–the ones I gave to the neighbor. I will use the slightly less firm jelly. It’s tasty! HA! I can can!!

  4. Yes, zucchini is very misunderstood! My daughter told me to saute with a little seasoning and eat it that way and guess what….I loved it! Now I can’t get enough – well, I might be exaggerating just a bit 🙂

  5. I grate my extra zucchini…it’s all “extra” isn’t it….and measure it for use later, Makes great quick breads and cookies and the chocolate cake is to die for. My disgust is gone in mid-January when I bring it out of the freezer!!

  6. I learned how to can for the first time this season and have been “going at it” steadily in the evenings after work…although my measly few pints of peaches and pickles don’t compare to GALLONS of raw produce. Keep it up.

  7. oh, those plums took me back to my childhood. I love those I haven[t ever seen them anywhere else I have lived and I have lived in 5 different states a couple of those states multiple times we always used our chokecherry jelly that came out runny on pancakes and it was delicious. your salsa looks good I like to eat it on omelets and with guacamole. yum I have 3 young grandchildren would live on refried beans and salsa and white tortilla chips.

  8. Next summer we will be planting a garden three times the size of what we had this year–all for the purpose of canning. I’m both looking forward to it and dreading it. If I look ahead to the beautiful finished product, it’ll make the job easier (I hope).

  9. Use the jelly as your liquid to poach pears, or peaches or plums, add lemon juice and can those (or store them in the freezer). So you use up dud jelly, and save another batch of fruit in the process.

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