My plum tree overfloweth. Right now, two bags full of ripe plums are sitting on my kitchen counter, saying, “We want to jam!”
Soon I’ll boil jars, pit and puree plums, measure sugar, and emotionally bond with my ancestors.
Something about canning appeals to me. I love my food processor, heavy-duty mixer, and modern stove. I love buying my meat already butchered and wrapped in clear plastic. I love my pantry and refrigerator bulging with food. But all of this distances me from reality.
Food comes at a price. Food takes work. Food is precious.
In the 1940s, everyone knew that. While most people didn’t have to do their own butchering, meat was rationed and scarce. Housewives had to come up with dishes that didn’t require meat or used whatever was available.
Everyone was encouraged to plant Victory Gardens to grow ration point-free produce for their families. Canning was a necessity to preserve these fruits and vegetables for year-round use. Each household was even allowed an extra ration of precious sugar just for canning use.
I make my own jam for many reasons. It uses up the fruit so it doesn’t go to waste. It saves me a bit of money. It makes the house smell divine. And homemade jam is yummy. But I also love the sense of continuity with the past, and the reminder that food is a gift from God to be cherished and never taken for granted.
How about you? Do you have any canning memories? Do you enjoy canning?