Garden Produce — To Can or Not to Can

This, dear reader, is how I prefer to think of the garden -- a beautiful place. Promenade, original and signed limited edition print at Steve Henderson Fine Art; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas

This, dear reader, is how I prefer to think of the garden — a beautiful place. Promenade, original and signed limited edition print at Steve Henderson Fine Art; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas

In every relationship, there comes a point to be brutally honest with one another, and you and I, Dear Reader, have reached that point. There is something that you need to know about me.

I don’t preserve produce from my garden. I don’t can peaches; I don’t pressure cook carrots; I don’t blanch and freeze broccoli, but since I don’t grow broccoli in the first place, this isn’t an issue.

Through the years, my distaste of canning has affected my relationship with others, namely because I avoid the kitchens of my canning friends for three months or so, and I have a hard time not grimacing when someone slips a slimy preserved pear onto my plate.

I don’t like canned food — creating it or eating it — and for much of my adult life I slunk about the edges, hoping that no one would ask me what I was doing with all of the bounty from our garden.

It's easy to forget the wonderment of the garden when we're so focused on preserving everything that comes out of it. Lilac Festival, original oil painting by Steve Henderson.

It’s easy to forget the wonderment of the garden when we’re so focused on preserving everything that comes out of it. Lilac Festival, original oil painting by Steve Henderson.

But I slink no more, and if you want to know what we’re doing with the copious amount of food coming from our garden these days, I’ll tell you: we’re eating it. Lettuce in salads; potatoes in soup; chard and kale steamed and tossed with pasta — what we don’t eat goes to the goats, chickens, or compost pile. And while it’s true that in December we won’t have access to green beans floating around in whatever liquid green beans float around in, we’ll eat pumpkins and winter squash, which store — neatly, tidily, and without steam — in the workshop.

I can assure you that, by the time September rolls around, I will have had my fill of zucchini. But that’s okay, because by that time I’ll have several wheelbarrowfuls of the aforementioned pumpkins and squash which will take me through to March, by which time I will be desperate for spinach. At no time do I wander through the pantry, muttering, “I sure would like some green beans now, on toast.”

This is a brave step for me, admitting to the world that I am so appallingly lazy that I don’t delight in standing over a pulsating stove, in July, sloshing food product around, but I do it for those of you still huddling in the closet, reluctant to admit that you don’t like canned prunes either.

Different things grow all year, and while we can't eat hay, we can eat other products of autumn. Homeland 3, Original sold; licensed, open edition print available at Great Big Canvas

Different things grow all year, and while we can’t eat hay, we can eat other products of autumn. Homeland 3, Original sold; licensed, open edition print available at Great Big Canvas

It’s okay not to can. The best way to know that you, personally, shouldn’t is if you find yourself asking, “Do I have to can?” Anytime you preface a question with, “Do I have to . . .?” you know that you might want to find an alternative way of doing things.

And I have. We eat seasonally, which means that we are some of the few people I know who consume pumpkin in any form other than pie. Interestingly, we also eat more vegetative manner than many of the people I know who can, because we create entire meals around what is in our garden, as opposed to plopping a spoonful of mushy peas next to the roast beef and mashed potatoes.

Ultimately, it comes down to eating cheaply and eating well, and when you use what you’ve got when you’ve got it, you do both. If you can, and eat what you produce, I’m happy for you, because you like what you do and it’s saving you money. But if you don’t, I’m here for you, assuring you that you’re not a profligate spendthrift who doesn’t use what you’ve been given, you just choose to use it in a different way.

Available in paperback and digital form at Amazon.com

Available in paperback and digital form at Amazon.com

Saving money looks different for different people; the important thing is to find out what works best for you and your family. I can help with this. My book, Live Happily on Less, walks you through the lifestyle changes you can realistically make to live contentedly on what you have. No weird tricks, no extreme coupon clipping, no magic bullets — just a series of 52 easy to digest essays gently leading you to make lasting, impacting changes. $12.99 paperback and $5.99 digital at Amazon.com.

The Artwork in my articles is by Steve Henderson, my Norwegian Artist, and can be found in the following places:

Manufacturers and retailers — license Steve’s work through Art Licensing

Advertisements

About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. In addition to her This Woman Writes blog, Carolyn writes a regular art column for FineArtNews, an online newsletter for artists and art collectors.
This entry was posted in Art, blogging, cooking, Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Economy, Encouragement, Family, finances, Food, frugal living, gardening, Green, Growth, health, home, homesteading, Humor, inspirational, Life, Lifestyle, money, News, Personal, Random, self-improvement, success, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Garden Produce — To Can or Not to Can

  1. lovelaceii says:

    I don’t like canned food no matter who cans it either. So, even though I live in an apartment, I do eat more seasonally. And it’s so much better fresh than canned.

    • lovelaceii — so glad to hear that I am not alone! Seasonal eating is fun, isn’t it? I like figuring out what I’m going to do with the copious amounts of whatever is growing in my garden or showing up cheap at the store, and before I get bored, one thing’s out, and another one’s in!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s