Canned goods are subject to a wide array of responses and as an avid canner, there's only one response I like.
|Huck thought to honor my 2011 collection with a photo|
Botulism happens. Obviously. And I'd like to point out to "John" that that's how I got the name Botulism Mom. That's how I roll. I feed my kids homegrown hospitalization on a regular basis. What about tubes down the throat isn't healthy for kids? 9-1-1 is on my speed dial. And I consider a weekly chat with my local EMT squad an essential part of The Good Life.
But if "John" dear insists on the "safety" of the global food system which hasn't ever produced a death (except for ecoli spinach, crazy cantaloupes, etc), what can I say? I'll just keep my canned goods to myself or circulate them among people who can (harhar) appreciate that I planted, fertilized and weeded every damn strawberry, cucumber, beet and ALL the salsa ingredients. I picked, stemmed and washed them. I made jam and salsa and then processed these things in jars I pre-sterilized. Maybe I am crazy.
I've been canning low risk, high acid foods for 10 years. I use the most recent USDA recipes and recommendations. And I'm not canning meat or beans or bathtub hooch. Yes, I was taught canning by a nearly homeless man with Hep C back in my Seattle Daze. He also taught me how to make pumpkin pie from scratch and he was the original guerrilla gardener, before it became hip. So he was a bit hygienically challenged, but when your salsa is made with the world's best disinfectant (vinegar) and boils for 30 minutes before you seal it up in 20 minutes of boiling water, you've kinda covered your bases.
|Coyote '05: my commitment to a sanitary conditions is unquestionable|
A friend suggested we "can" together and I could show her the ropes. But I'm not sure our friendship could survive it. I barely do. However, I'm still enjoying my 5 1/2 gallons of green tomato salsa (you gotta build your unripe tomato recipe repertoire in this climate). My pickles are inconsistent, but when you hit a good jar it's like heaven/orgasm. And my strawberry jam tastes like you've gotten distracted on a warm summer day and are laying down between the rows of strawberries, sniffing their sweet scent, staring up at the imaginative clouds, listening to the ecstatic hymns of birds, and occasionally sitting up to eat berries by the handful out of the bucket you were supposed to bring back to the house to make jam out of.
So a big thank you to all of my brave and wonderful friends who bravely try and seem to enjoy my canned goods. Never mind that bitter taste, it's so full of good that you should survive psychically unscathed by that last push to preserve the holy revelations of our good earth.
In addition to canning, I do make my own cheese and yogurt and sometimes icecream and butter. I also grow and wild harvest then dry a ton of herbs and mix them into yummy teas (that my kids prefer over any other kind) specific to whatever we need: immunity boosts, stomach calming, anxiety relief, cough, fever, migraines, afternoon with friends, etc, etc. I was making tea for a friend I'd known a few years and she wandered in to the kitchen at the moment I was opening my herb cupboard and she stood in awe of my collection of medicinal herbs. And she asked, "How come I never knew you did this too?" I don't know. I just never comes up. So, now you know. I have a lot of cupboard space devoted to the glass jars and parts of my basement look like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
|Some herbs in my basement 2011|
I felt obligated to tell you that so that you'll never be able to say to me: Why didn't I ever know that was such a big part of Sarajoy's life? How come she never told ME about it!? I told you. So now you know: I'm a crazy DYI home maker.