Putting Up for Winter

by marilynk

My maternal grandmother is from Texas and she uses a host of terms that I identify specifically with her. “Putting up” is one of them – I’m not sure how widely the term is used, but it basically means canning. My grandmother would put up jams, pickles, and tomato sauces in the late summer and autumn so the family would have yummy things through the winter. My mom also canned when I was a kid, but by the time I was in junior high, she was too busy to put up much.

Edmonton is deep into autumn now and my parents are having their annual tomato over-run. This happens almost every year when my dad gets overzealous in his tomato planting because he’s missed the taste of home-grown tomatoes so much over the winter – all is good until September rolls around and the crop starts to overwhelm both my parents and their kitchen. In an effort to process a big chunk of the tomatoes and for me to learn proper water-bath canning techniques, Mom and I made two big batches of tomato sauce and canned them just before Thanksgiving.

So many tomatoes...

It was a LOT of prep.

I ended up with seven single-serving portions that were water-bath canned and two 1L portions to be frozen. We can’t properly can larger jars because our pot is too small. I learned a lot about canning before this weekend and learned that the big water bath canners can’t be used on glass-topped stoves because the diameter of the base is larger than the diameter of the burners – not an issue on gas or electric element stoves, but on a glass-topped stove, the glass outside the burner can overheat and can crack. I am not interested in hot cracking glass in my kitchen (or my mom’s), so the small canner it is! These jars will be good stored in a cool place out of direct light basically indefinitely (although I plan to use them in about 6 months).

We probably could have fit 3 more in there...

The jars need to be on a rack that keeps them off the bottom and fully submerged in water.

Freezing is still a good option for putting up food, but the frozen food should be used within 2-3 months. Water-bath canning is a great option for high-acid foods like jams, mustards, pickles, and tomato products. I really wanted to can the soups I planned to make in October, but I learned that the acidity is just not high enough to safely water can soups. Low-acid foods can be canned (ha!) using a pressure canner, but I discovered they are a little hard to come by in Edmonton. Also, they are too large to use on a glass-top stove as well, so I’m on the hunt for a commercial space that will let me borrow both their canner and their stove for next autumn’s canning extravaganza!


7 Comments to “Putting Up for Winter”

  1. Marilyn

    I think the LDS church does canning sessions and may rent out the kitchens. May be a good place to start..there is also another local blog and I think she may have some information too. I’ll get her blog info and pass it along

  2. Thanks Fiona! That would be awesome.

  3. Marilyn,

    Here is the blog : http://avenuehomesteader.blogspot.com/
    There is also a Edmonton Traditional Skills Group on Facebook

    BTW did you get my email? I have some yarn if you are interested. Maybe a few other knitting stuff too:)

    • Ah! That email address doesn’t update automatically on my phone! Sorry Fiona. Thanks for this info! And I am always willing to adopt unused yarn! šŸ™‚

  4. Marilyn Sweet I’m gonna parcel stuff out this weekend. Will let you know when I get yours put together:)

  5. lol sorry it logged me on my blogger id

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