in search of my canning kettle

i find it so amazing. each year, despite it’s regularity, it catches me by surprise. somehow, in the blink of an eye, we jump from scarcity to abundance. spring is such a wild time, i take multi tasking to a level that even amazes me. now, as we inch closer to summer, my muscles have grown used to the hard work. still moving more and more each day,  my skin no longer burns from the countless hours spent in the sun. alas, change is still in the air. our bellies have grown fuller on our farm’s food and the big shift  from those first delectable salads, to the heartier greens and lovely spring roots has finally occurred.

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now, with what seems like no notice at all,  food preservation season is upon me. all of a sudden, while perhaps i wasn’t paying attention, there is more food than we know what to do with. the piles are high of carrots and beets, greens and herbs. the pigs are already knee deep in garden waste and clearly, the time is now, to preserve the bounty.

like all other transitions, this one is a challenge. i am rusty from months off.  i scramble to find my supplies: the jars, the bands, the lids and the water bath canner. you see, i had a date with our apprentices, it was time to start the food preservation chapter of their education. we had picked the scapes off our garlic plants (the flowering heads, an annual culinary treat, plucked to stimulate the final phase of bulb growth). i love to make pickled garlic scapes.

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this morning at milking time, my irritation was palpable as i tried to find that silly water bath canner. i had been searching for days to no avail and the clock was ticking. our farm apprentice queried, “should we cancel our pickle date?” “no” i grumbled, “the time is now”. in a final moment of glory i remembered the dark days of the long winter passed. yes, i recalled we used my canner as a double boiler for that beeswax candle project.

from there the day unfolded flawlessly, we gathered over a table of garlic scapes with a cheese making demo happening on the back burner. the pickled scape recipe is so fun and forgiving, a simple brine of half vinegar half water and salt is brought to a boil and poured over the prepared scapes. add some spices to your liking and process in water bath for 10 minutes.

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when the clock chimed noon we had 15 pints of pickled garlic scapes complete, a 2 gallon batch of farm feta underway and a cranky naked 3 year old. we called it a day, a half day in fact, and looked ahead to the afternoon having already accomplished so much.  ahhh, welcome summer sundays, you are so very busy and equally good.

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so friends, here goes the busiest season of all and if i can offer some advice, find your canner now….

6 thoughts on “in search of my canning kettle

  1. We always get scapes from our CSA and I sigh and think, what are we supposed to do with these? I’m not into pickled things, but my husband is, so perhaps we’ll have to give it a go this year.

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