My Last Canning Experience - Kitchen Pyrotechnics Blog at Allrecipes.com - 249239

Kitchen Pyrotechnics

My Last Canning Experience 
 
Sep. 6, 2011 10:30 am 
Updated: Sep. 8, 2011 11:28 am
I’ve seen several great blog posts on here referencing canning and a recent visit to our newly opened Wilco store, with an entire aisle devoted to canning, has me thinking back to the last time I canned anything.
Canning was a part of life in my formative years.  We had large gardens and late summer/early fall was prime canning season.  Many sweaty days were passed in our over-heated kitchen, stuffing sterile jars with fruits and vegetables.  Next was either a dip in boiling water or a spell in the pressure cooker.  Rows and rows of processed jars crowded our kitchen counters, waiting to see if they sealed properly.  Even as a child, I loved seeing our pantry lined with the vibrantly colored jars.
As an adult, there has only been one occasion where I did any canning on my own.  I would love to do more.  But I have lived a busy suburban life and it’s something I just never seemed to have the time for.
The one time that I did, it was to can baby food for my last child.  With my first two children, I was a stay at home mom.  I can count the times on one hand that I have purchased baby food from a store for any of my three children.  It was always easier, cheaper, and healthier for me to use the food we were already eating for our meal.  I just waited until after I had separated a portion to season the food.  Thanks to those handy little grinders, I made baby food on the spot.
My older boys happened to reach baby food age during spring and summer when there was plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables available.  I knew ahead of time that my daughter wouldn’t.  Plus, I was working full time at a high-stress job with long hours that I needed to return to when she was only 5 weeks old.  So in order to provide her the same high-quality food, I decided to can the pureed fruits and vegetables of summer in tiny jars.
I spent many nights, after a long day at work, hugely pregnant, slaving over batches and batches of baby food.  But one glance at my growing pantry of healthy food for my yet unborn baby was all it took to keep me going.  By the time she made her appearance, I had a stockpile that I knew would get us through the winter.
So the time comes to start introducing fruits and vegetables.  I proudly open the first jar and present it to her in one of those cute little plastic-coated spoons.  After one tiny taste, she refuses it.  Absolutely will not eat it.  OK, this happens.  Maybe she doesn’t like peas.  Or needs some time to get used to it.
Weeks go by as I try other vegetables.  No dice.  I switch to fruits.  Who doesn’t love fruit?  Nothing.  I’m trying them all over again.  I try them myself.  Delicious!  Why won’t she eat them.
I try a different spoon.  How about at different times of day?  Or combined?  Nope.  I buy some commercial baby food but the results are the same.  I am starting to think that I have the pickiest baby on earth.  What am I going to do?
One day I am sitting with her on my lap, eating biscuits and sausage gravy.  I have no idea why I did it, but I gave her a little taste of the spicy gravy.  She loved it!  She was grabbing my arm, trying to get me to feed it to her faster.  On a hunch, I gave her some of my dinner that night, fettuccine Alfredo, mashed up.  Her face lit up and I spent the entire meal feeding her instead of me.
She loved food with a little texture and a lot of flavor.  I found she would eat fruits and vegetables by the bushel if they were mashed, not pureed.  And well seasoned, too.
It just so happened that my boss and his wife had a baby shortly after me and they were thrilled with all the baby food I gave them.  So my hard work was appreciated after all!
My daughter is still the same, she loves strong flavors and to try new things.  Thank goodness!
 
Comments
Sep. 6, 2011 10:47 am
Great blog, Michelle. So nice to have a kid-size foodie! Sadly, only one of the grands is that way, Logan. He will try anything, and likes most foods. I thought for sure he'd turn up his little 6-yr-old nose at olive tapenade, but nope. Just gobbled it up and asked for more.
 
Sep. 6, 2011 11:11 am
I love having a non-picky eater with my daughter. My sons were both very difficult but growing out if it...after 20 years! Kate's treat when we would go to the supermarket was always crab legs if she behaved. The people at the seafood counter got to know her and thought it was cute, she would get so excited for her treat. This started when she was about 3.
 
petey 
Sep. 6, 2011 11:19 am
I LOVED the little food mills. My boys were both raised on table foods that I ground up in it.They never did have baby food. It IS a great feeling to see all your canned goods on the shelves.
 
Sep. 6, 2011 12:00 pm
LOLOL! I did the same with my child. Made it all myself and there were some foods no matter what I did, he would not eat them. He is still picky about his food.
 
covergirl 
Sep. 6, 2011 12:04 pm
When my grandson was 4, we went out to dinner. The waiter was very condescending when he asked "And what would you like little boy, mac and cheese or hot dog"? Andrew replied "I want escargot and french onion soup", the waiter laughed out loud and then said "He's kidding right"? Andrew's Mom said "No, he's ordering". One of my favorite moments in life!!
 
covergirl 
Sep. 6, 2011 12:04 pm
When my grandson was 4, we went out to dinner. The waiter was very condescending when he asked "And what would you like little boy, mac and cheese or hot dog"? Andrew replied "I want escargot and french onion soup", the waiter laughed out loud and then said "He's kidding right"? Andrew's Mom said "No, he's ordering". One of my favorite moments in life!!
 
Sep. 6, 2011 12:24 pm
Petey, those food mills are AWESOME! At the time, 22 yrs ago, people thought I was absolutely bonkers for not feeding them store bought stuff. If it costs money, it must be better, right? Thank goodness things have changed. I was just ahead of my time!
 
Sep. 6, 2011 12:27 pm
Cat Hill, that is so true! I think there are some kids that are just more sensitive to flavors and are picky because of that. Some are because it's a control issue. And some little boys have poor eating examples set by their fathers...oops! Did I say that? Oh well, it's true! Thankfully they are all recovering nicely and are a little less picky.
 
Sep. 6, 2011 1:35 pm
Oh, covergirl, that's priceless!!
 
Mamaw1 
Sep. 6, 2011 3:35 pm
You gals are super moms! Michelle, what kind of itsy-bitsy jars did you use? I would like to pass along your info to others. I have a g-granddau. who loves any food, as long is it is around, and is such a social eater. She is alert, healthy, and happy.
 
Sep. 6, 2011 3:59 pm
I used 4 oz jelly jars. They were the perfect size for a meal or two...or would have been if she had eaten them!
 
Sep. 6, 2011 8:11 pm
Loved covergirl's comment and yes you did let it slip. Just maybe their fathers helped them on the picky journey.
 
Sep. 7, 2011 5:24 pm
I love how you figured out what she liked, thats a cute story. I read your blog earlier today and was so inspired I went and bought 20 lbs of tomatoes, all currently underway transforming to sauce. I'll can it tomorrow.
 
Sep. 8, 2011 7:19 am
We put up food for our children, too. That was in the 70's. At that time, if you subscribed to "Mother Earth News" or "Organic Gardening and Farming" you were one of those hippie type social radicals. We muscled through that era and look back with thanks that we did. We showed our kids the healthiest ways we knew and are now rewarded by them teaching their kids many of the same things.
 
Sep. 8, 2011 8:52 am
Raedwolf, thanks. And I'm glad I inspired you to can those tomatoes! Wish I would inspire myself like that! Canned homemade sauce would be a beautiful thing to have this winter. My garden tomatoes made a pathetic showing this summer, though, so I will have to buy tomatoes too if I'm going to do it.
 
Sep. 8, 2011 8:57 am
Hi Mike! I was "raised by hippies" and the only way I had to rebel in my teens was to go Republican (hey, it was the 80's!) haha But the older I get, the more I see how the "natural" ways are simple, tastier & healthier. And I just get a nice feeling of accomplishment, too. It's ingrained in me and I hope my children take some of what they learned and use it someday.
 
 
 
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Michelle Smith Wuscher

Home Town
Trout Lake, Washington, USA
Living In
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA

Member Since
Jan. 2007

Cooking Level
Expert

Cooking Interests
Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, Healthy, Kids, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

Hobbies
Hiking/Camping, Camping, Fishing, Reading Books, Music

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About Me
I am the mother of 3 - 22 & 19 yr old boys and a 10 yr old girl. We have a pyrotechnics company and get to experience fun events all over the state and country. After a lifetime of rarely leaving Washington State, I love experiencing new foods during our travels.
My favorite things to cook
Just about anything except baking. I like to "wing it" when I am cooking which isn't good for baking. And it's also a problem when everyone loves something I made. It can be difficult to come up with the same thing twice. We dine at restaurants the majority of the time but I love being able to make a home-cooked meal for my family.
My cooking tragedies
When I was about 10, my sister and I tried to make a recipe for Shepherds Pie that used instant mashed potatoes but we neglected to prepare the potatoes before adding them on top. It turned out glue-like but the adults did a great job of eating some of it and telling us it was "just fine". But there was a lot of water consummed with that meal!!!
 
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