Ok, technically, they are jars, but they are real and they’re spectacular! They may indeed be jars but the process of preserving giant ass piles of food in them is called canning. The whole thing is jarring, isn’t it? Now before I go into this article I just want to say it’s nice to finally be back to blogging! The Phat phamily has had a tumultuous few weeks and posting articles unfortunately had to go on the back burner. First, I fell down a flight of stairs a few weeks back and busted up my hand pretty good. Don’t worry the stairs were fine. Then my lady friend, in a game of one-upmanship spilled hot tea on herself and ended up with second degree burns on a fair portion of her body. Then, worst of all, I couldn’t find my camera wire for a week so there was no way for me to transfer pictures onto here. Rough times.
It’s kind of ironic that I write this piece now because much of our canned food served us well whilst we were both semi out of commission. Oh irony, one day me and you are gonna fist fight. If you are looking for a super detailed list of steps on how to safely can your massive garden haul or stuff you stocked up on at the market during harvest season, well, you are looking in the wrong place my friends. Feel free to check out these details on what you need to accomplish this. My lady friend and her lovely and talented super mom have been in a farming family for generations and they follow a similar technique but if you listen to the “experts” they will say there still runs a slight risk of botulism. I asked my lady about maybe having any fear of that and she said no and that she’s been considering getting botulism injections to remove wrinkles anyway. Whatever that means. She told me not to be a wuss and that out of 173 family members only 14 ever got botulism so what are the odds we would? Besides, we get our guests to taste test everything before we eat it. We aren’t stupid.
So why should you can veggies, fruits, soups, sauces etc. when you can just freeze them? Well, I don’t know about you but I find aside from maybe fruits like cranberries or a veg like fresh peas that hold up really well when frozen, most food will change slightly once it’s been frozen. The colour will change, the texture certainly will, and a lot of stuff will just seem way more watery after it’s been frozen. You ever make a kick ass meat sauce and then freeze the extra and once you use it again it just doesn’t have the same consistency? Ya, me too. Besides, if you are anything like me with both my freezer at the bottom of my fridge and my large one in the basement obscenely full at this point you got no room for fancy freezing. I don’t even have room to make ice cubes, let alone giant batches of soups, beets, sauce and the like. But with just a little shelf space in a dark and cool place, like my soul, I can have tons of food at my disposal that doesn’t need to thaw and that tastes more fresher than frozen stuff.
There’s a bunch of benefits to doing this stuff. If you’ve got kids you’ve automatically got a hectic schedule. No couple seems to both work the standard 9 to 5 anymore. We’re always on the go. Hell, life is busier than ever even without kids. So when you’ve got a night where one kid is at school late for a homework group, the other is going to dance class from 5h30 to 6h30, and your partner is working an evening shift, or if you are running from a work meeting to the gym to a phone conference, it’s sweet to know you can just reach for a jar of spaghetti sauce or a potage style soup and in minutes you’ll have supper ready. I try hard to avoid giving my kids the quick fix frozen meals that are full of garbage. I don’t want to be preachy about that stuff (I know I’ve mentioned them before) but they really aren’t very good, I mean taste them, the stuff is garbage, and for the most part they’re loaded with all kinds of crap that isn’t good for us. Somehow kids seem to be conditioned to like this stuff (evil advertising?) but man, if I find them nasty then why the hell am I feeding this stuff to my kids?
Another great reason to do this is cutting down on waste. I always feel terrible when I’ve got to chuck food that went bad or uneaten leftovers into the garbage. It also sucks the bag when you’ve got all kinds of great stuff growing in your garden and you just can’t get to it all. There are only so many tomato salads a dude can eat in a given period of time. Doing one or two big canning sessions in the early fall will save so much of what you’d end up just letting go to waste.
For the record, I did offer to help with the canning but my lady responded with “If you want to.” Luckily, I am fluent in Womanese and I know this translates loosely to “Go have pints at the bar.” Who am I to argue? You don’t believe I can speak the language of women? Check this out: “Would you mind making me a tea?” = “Make me a tea.”… “We should do a family activity on Sunday.” = ” I am mad at you and you don’t get to watch football.”…”I’m making chicken heart stir fry tonight” = “Take me out to supper.”….”Good night.” = “I loathe you.” See? Totes nailed it. Anyone reading this who is thinking I am some kind of misogynist is way off base. I almost never even rub my girlfriend’s back.
So now we’ve got some meat sauce, beets, soups, and other yummy goodness standing by. I got home from the bar and was impressed with the massive production. When I asked how do you know if it worked and if they will stay good (as I shook a jar of sauce in my hands) she tells me “Well, if air got in and it spoils the lid will pop…Oh, and don’t shake them.” So remember guys, appreciate what your lady does for you. Oh, and don’t shake her cans.
Categories: Phood Philosophies