Can Do!

Wow!  It has been a really long time since I’ve written anything.  It has been a wild and crazy summer so far.  I’m sad to say that my son will be going back to school in less than 1 month!!  Didn’t he just get out??

So, let’s see if I can get you up to speed on our crazy summer.  At the end of June, my hubby took a group from our congregation and went to Moore, OK to do some tornado relief clean-up/rebuild.  A few years ago, we started a group called “Hands & Feet”.  Two years ago, they went to a small town in Tennessee to clean up after a tornado.  Last year, they went to Kentucky.  This year’s trip was very successful.  They were able to help a single dad roof his house, put windows in, and do a lot of sheetrock repair.  His home was damaged and flooded during one of the tornadoes.  

A few days after the hubby got back from Oklahoma, we went to Lipscomb University, to their annual lectureship.  We got to listen to some really amazing speakers and attended some great classes about Jesus’ Sermon On The Mount.

While we were in Nashville, my parents and grandma met us there and brought the kiddos back to our house.  I was all set to enjoy several days without the kids, but I caught a nasty 24 hour stomach bug, and spent an entire day in bed…not fun!  Luckily, it only lasted 1 day and I was back to normal after that.

A couple of days after we got back form Nashville, we hit the beach with my family & then spent a few more days with them at our home.  After they left, we’ve been busy getting back into routine…which leads me to the main part of this blog.

We are growing a garden this year.  Well, we planted & God is taking care of the rest…but you know what I mean.  Anyway, we have been blessed with crazy amazing growth.  We’ve been growing lettuce, corn, squash (yellow & zucchini), cucumbers, okra, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and bell peppers…I think that’s it.

ImageThis is just a small example of the lettuce we’ve had from our garden…

ImageZucchini bread…of course 🙂

ImageThis is the latest…bell peppers, onions and jalapeno pepper pizza.

Normally, when we have a garden, we eat some stuff fresh, try to freeze a little and end up throwing most of that away.  This year, we thought we would do something a little different.

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Tada!  We bought a canner!  Although neither of us have ever canned anything in our lives, we decided to take the plunge and try our hand at canning our veggies.  Let me just say, I was soooo nervous to even start.  I did a lot of research on how to can and also what kind of canner to get.  I got this one on Amazon.  It had over 600 reviews and it was rated 4.7 out of 5 stars.  It was probably one of the cheaper models on the market, but I figured over 600 people couldn’t be wrong 🙂

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I checked this book out from the library.  I’m actually on my second renewal.  Not only does it have great step-by-step instructions, it has a lot of recipes as well.  I think my library will let me renew 3 times, so I will probably be maxing it out.  One day, I may actually break down and buy it!

So, the canner came in on Friday…wow…yesterday!  While I am not going to claim that I am now a canning pro, I will say (for all of you newbies out there) it was easier, not as scary as I thought it would be.  My first project:  Green beans.  We didn’t have a ton that were ready to pick, but we had enough to try out the canner.

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The manual never left my side while I was doing the process!  I’m very much a “by the book” kind of gal.Image

 So, there you have it!  5 pint size green bean jars.  Processed, sealed and ready for storage.  I have to say, it was hard to not break one open today…just to see how they are!

I also had a few cucumbers ready to pick.  I would have had more, but earlier in the week (while waiting not so patiently for my canner to arrive), we had several cucumbers that we picked, so I made refrigerator pickles.  Tonight, I made regular pickles in my canner that also doubles as a water bath canner.  

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I know what some of you are thinking…that’s a lot of trouble to go through, just for 2 pints of pickles.  Yeah, probably, but I want to use the produce when it’s fresh.  So, hopefully I won’t be processing 2 cans at a time, but you never know…

So far, my assessment of canning:  It’s a lot of work!!  My hat is off to all of you ladies (and men) who have been doing this for years.  I know when we see all those jars lined up and are eating green beans in the winter, it will all be worth it!  It is also kind of expensive, when you’re first starting out.  I see each little jar as an investment for the future.  I like the fact that I’ll be able to re-use them in the years to come.  

There is something very satisfying in working the garden, picking the veggies and then putting them in jars to use for later.  I love that we’re able to share the “fruits of our labor” with our friends.  I think this is going to be a great learning experience for our kiddos too.  

I will keep you updated as I can more things.  My next project will be pickling jalapenos and making jalapeno jelly (super yummy!!).  I’m hoping to get to that within the next few days…just gotta get some more jars!

 

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