It's no secret - I love canning jarred fruits and vegetables. As my husband says, I am an ant not a grasshopper. Recall that story of the ants and the grasshopper - the grasshopper sings and plays while the ants store food for the winter. Then come winter the ants sing and play and enjoy the fruits of their labor while the grasshopper freezes and goes hungry. At least the Disney cartoon portrays it nicely where the ants invite the grasshopper in and he plays for his food. I take my husband's words as a compliment that he thinks of me as an ant. In fact, I have been wanting to teach my little ones to also be ants also.
Pickles are extremely easy and a good start. Plus, we are on an anti-artificial coloring diet and just about every type of pickle or relish one can purchase has yellow #5. I followed my classic Kosher dill pickle recipe that I first used 4 years ago. It's become quite popular. In fact, I texted my boss while I was picking up 40 lbs of cucumbers to see if he wanted any. He gladly took me up on the offer as long as I would share my recipe. Let me just say, 40 lbs of cucumbers takes a long time to jar/can. I made several jars of just pickles. Then some slices and spears with the same recipe. Then, I changed things up and used the larger cucumbers to make dill pickle relish. I am quite happy with the simple, easy and very tasty relish recipe. I went to child birth class smelling of dill relish (it was kind of distracting while I was trying to induce relaxation.) By the way, we finished our hypno birthing classes and are quite happy. More on that later.
The kids first canning experience was wonderful. They were quite the troopers. I arrived home from work and we immediately headed to pick up our cucumbers - they had just been picked. There were 40 lbs and there was no way we would get through all of those but we made a pretty good start that evening. With the promise of allowing them to stay up late, they were eager to help. They sorted, cleaned, peeled, and stuffed. T is a meticulous cucumber cleaner. Lil Sister was a fantastic garlic peeler. I think her tiny little hands can peel much faster and better than mine. Oh, note her hair is up - she was very proud to have it pulled back like mine as I always pull my hair up and back for canning reminiscent of my days working at the cannery. I think they enjoyed stuffing the jars the most. You can certainly tell from the photos which jars they packed compared to the ones I did. I am also showing a photo of a jar casualty that I had. For the first time in 15 years of canning I had a jar burst in the water bath. The bottom simply came off. It was sort of surreal to see. Luckily, nothing else was lost other than that jar and its contents.
The kids were quite tired from their canning experience. The next three nights they did not participate which was fine as I spent two nights doing relish and that was a bit more delicate and dangerous. Now a brief break from canning before I do a few peaches and am done for the season. I am really backing down from my canning this year as our food storage is looking good, I only need a few Christmas gifts, and I am just plain tired from working extra days, chasing the kids to all their activities, and growing a very active baby girl.
My kids are certainly off to a good start learning to be little ants!