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!