I canned four jars of pickled banana peppers from our garden today -- first time I've canned since moving to Louisiana. Sadly, these peppers are the only thing I presently have growing in our garden. We planted tomatoes too late. We got only a handful of bell peppers. And that's all we planted. For some reason, our one banana pepper plant was prolific. I hope someday to have a large garden. And an orchard. Berry bushes growing along the fence.
There is something so satisfying about putting up, storing away, preserving summer's goodness for the lean winter months. Canning reminds me of my childhood, spending time with my grandmother. Corn, green beans, peaches, and tomatoes. She'd sweat in the heat of the kitchen, steam rolling off the vats of water baths, competing with the other women on the ridge to see who could amass the most jars. Grandma would line the basement shelves with the colorful filled containers like an athlete displays her trophies. Then she'd feed her family for a year.
Canning makes a woman feel industrious and proud. If she's particularly proud, or prodded, she may enter the fruit of her labors in the county fair competition, hoping to win a blue ribbon and recognition for her hard work.
What have you preserved lately? Produce, memories, words . . . ?