21st Century Canning


My best friend and I started purchasing CSA shares (community supported agriculture) last winter. We love it. It's an opportunity to eat a variety of fresh produce and support a local farm. There are only two downsides:  Sometimes we get items we have no idea how to cook (Jerusalem artichokes? Black radishes?) and it's often more food than we can eat in a week. Wasting food is the worst problem. It's disrespectful to the earth and it is very expensive. 

Last week, we picked up a huge amount of green peppers. This week, we received a bag of hot peppers. We decided to find a way to make them last until we could eat them. Canning seemed to be an easy option. We're 21st century women. How hard could it be? It was time to make Hot Pepper Jelly. 

This morning we picked up all the supplies. Ball jars. Wide mouth funnel. Jar tongs. Pectin. Cider vinegar. A ton of sugar. From our return at 11:00am to 5:30pm we chopped, cooked, stirred, sterilized, poured and boiled. Starting at 5:30pm, i went to bed with a heating pad, a mega dose of ibuprofen, and on- demand episodes of Twisted. My. Back. Is. Killing. Me.

As I wince through the commercials in failed attempts to get comfortable, I remember being at my very southern grandmother's home, taking for granted the jars of green beans, peaches, jellies, jams, tomatoes, compotes, and relishes she used to make the most wonderful food. Those jars were made with hard work that could only be born of the tremendous love she had for her family.

To Grandma, Aunt Effie, Mrs.Carter, and Aunt Lucille, thank you for loving me and showing that love through painstakingly creating jars of yummy goodness. If my Hot Pepper Jelly doesn't make me deathly ill, it will be due to your watchful eyes from heaven's kitchen.