Folks, read on to enjoy a fun guest post from Kathy Kildea, the secretary of Market Central, about the Canner’s SWAP this Sunday at The Haven. Yours truly will be a judge in the Blue Ribbon contest—woot! Come out and have fun! Take it away, Kathy…
“One of my most treasured possessions is my mother’s canning notebook. Mom kept a journal of canning notes, recipes and yields-along with careful price calculations–from 1958 to 1976. Toward the end of September every year, the canned good shelf in our basement burgeoned as a result of a bountiful garden and a productive kitchen. Mom canned–a lot!–and frequently enlisted the help of five sets of kid-hands to do some of the peeling, pitting and washing. And if there’s one thing I’m sure of: I am my mother’s daughter when those jars signal a successful seal with their distinctive ‘ping’, as I do the same giddy, happy dance I recall seeing her perform. Yeah, I’m a dork.
“While mom surely canned to stretch a dollar, there were still many recipes she made because they were just so darned tasty! We rarely had store bought ketchup in our house, and I’m not sure if it was because the commercial variety was more expensive, or if it was just plain inferior to the luscious, complex concoction that I recall was the norm on meatloaf and hamburgers in our house when I was a kid. I remember her elaborate set-up for jelly making that involved two chairs with a broom across them, on which was hung a pillowcase full of Concord grape slurry, suspended above a stock pot to catch that magnificent juice. (Dear Lord, that jelly!) And the PICKLES! Mom’s journal contains a hand-written recipe for “Mrs. Tubbs’ Sweet Pickles.” I have no idea who Mrs. Tubbs was, but I can tell you she made some bodacious pickles.
“There are notes every year in Mom’s journal for the jars that were destined to be Christmas presents–always on a shelf of their own, and in the prettiest jars. Now and then, there’s a note about trades with her friends. With a little cooperation, everyone got a little more variety on their pantry shelf, and ‘stock overruns’ were readily bartered.
“It’s in this spirit of sharing that Market Central is holding its first Canner’s SWAP this Sunday, September 25, 4-6pm at The Haven. We’ve met scores of enthusiastic canners over the summer, and heck, we’ve even created a few of them. If you’ve canned it–bring it, swap it, or enter it in our Blue Ribbon prize judging! Even if you don’t participate in the swap, we invite you to come, taste and celebrate with us.
“I don’t know if I’ll be journaling about the experience, but you can best believe I’ll be doing the Happy Ping dance–and Mom will be smiling.”