My family has always canned. Jams.. pickles.. make the cheap summer fruits and veg last into winter. Plus they taste WAY better than store bought.

We always did huge affairs, 2-3 households getting together to do a single project. Pickles was always the biggest event, bathtubs full of baby cucumbers, hundreds of cloves of garlic and a forest of dillweed.

Everyone had a task. Peel garlic. Cut stems from cukes. stuff jars. boil jars. secure lids. move to storage area. clean up, keep everyone supplied. Hell even some of the older kids playing baby sitter so the adults and bigger kids could work without distraction. When I was little it was Grandma Lady running the show, Then as she got older it was Mom and Auntie Col. These days the huge gathering is gone, and as someone who hates crowds, it surprises me how much I miss it (and not just for the pickles). I hate crowds, even family events like Xmas or birthdays. but the family working together for something that will make us all happy for the whole year, and potentially a couple years after that too depending on the product.

At home I ran out of Family Jam in winter. This summer I was asked if I wanted Red Currants, and what could I do with them. I knew I could do jelly if I had the equipment but I figured it would cost a fortune to get everything. 50 bucks later I had all my equipment and a case of jars to get started. I made a handful of red currant jelly and since I didnt have enough to finish another full batch I made a currant-raspberry jelly.. and it was easy. it brought that same warm feeling of helping with family canning in the comfort of my own home, and it only took a few hours since I was only doing 6-12 jars at a time.

I figured hell, I have the equipment and extra jars.. maybe I can do some more flavours! ataulfo mango jam, which I ran low on and decided to mix with strawberries and came out amazing so I made more of that, then I made Mango raspberry, and Mango Blueberry. sugarfree blackberry-apple. then canned peaches and pears. some plums.. made plum jam and plum sauce. I keep planning for more and more types when fruits will come in season next year. planning to make my own pectin, juice apples to preserve fruit in. a co-worker of mine has a cranberry farm and I am excited to get my hands on more of those and some late season apples for a jelly. and then wait until spring for more canning as stuff comes into season again.

guestimating I think I’ve canned 400 jars this summer.