Why, oh why, did Mom never teach me how to can? I remember eating jars and jars of canned peaches and pears when I was growing up, but I can't remember ever seeing Mom actually doing it -- although I do remember her later saying she would never do it again.
I think I'm going to get her to start up again. After all, I will need a partner to get started after taking a daylong lesson over the weekend at my friend Leslie's house. Plus, Mom lives closer to the rural parts of the county where you can actually come out ahead when you can, unlike us city folk who can end up spending an arm and a leg to "save money" on canning.
So what did we can? Forty pounds of peaches and 5 pounds of green beans!!! I suppose to people who actually can regularly, that's nothin'. Our instructor, a mutual friend with whom Leslie once worked and I went to college, said she normally cans 100 pounds in a day. And she has two children. And I have no excuses! Well, I still have yet to buy the equipment, but I'm hoping Costco will have it all in a big package in honor of the season the next time I go. Or maybe I'll just hit up some estate sales or look on Craigslist.
The class was wonderful, though. Laura and our other instructor, Kathy, gathered herbs in bulk (the only way to buy, apparently!) for us to use as we desired in our peaches and pickled green beans. I used a piece of vanilla bean, a couple of cardamon pods and a cinnamon stick in my peaches; and I got two jars of green beans: a spicy one with probably too many hot peppers, basil and garlic; and one to share with my friend Nicole, who can't handle spicy food, with just dill and garlic. Can't open them for at least a month, so if you're lucky, I'll come back with a full report.
I finally tried the peach jam today on an English muffin and it was absolutely heavenly. Looks like Leslie is responsible for yet another hobby in my overhobbified life!