Rows and rows of Ball Jars lined up by color and size are what I remember most vividly about my grandmother’s cellar. Spending hours with my grandfather on the back porch of their Gordon, PA home filling jars to the brim with the “kraut” he had spent weeks preparing to last until the next summer. Canning was just something they did. With produce stands available at every turn, now is the time of year to gather up things like peaches, tomatoes, corn and beets and get canning!
Canning originated back in the 1800’s when a French confectioner and brewer named Nicolas Appert discovered that food cooked inside of a jar did not spoil unless the seals leaked. The first American canning company was founded in 1812 in NYC, with demand for canned goods greatly increasing during war-time. By the 1880s, American women, taking advantage of the lowering cost of sugar and the back-saving wood stove, had launched the annual summer routine of putting up the wealth of orchard fruit, along with garden vegetables and even meats. Thus began the home canning process.
Lancaster County is ripe with Amish farmlands, community markets and backyard gardens. As it nears fall, preserving the surplus of fruits and vegetables for the winter ahead is commonplace. Making salsa and jams, applesauce and pumpkin butter and storing on shelves in the cellar is part of life for many people. For some it’s a hobby, for other’s a necessity. Whichever it may be for you, we think it’s a process you’ll enjoy. So Get Canning!