This weekend was full and busy as usual. Who’s weekend isn’t? We spent ours working on the yard at the current (“soon-to-be” old) home place. This included mowing, gardening, harvesting, and canning. We are really crunched for time when it comes to preserving our home-grown food and then saving seeds for next years garden at the new place.
We canned 12 quarts of Butternut Squash and 5 quarts of Vegetable Stock. It doesn’t sound like very much, but I learned for the first time this year that Butternut is the hardest, most physically challenging vegetable/fruit to can. It took the whole family: Lula washed them each in the sink, I peeled them, Ken sliced them open, Kensy spooned out the seeds and pulp (a very tough and tiresome job for anybody), Ken then cubed them and Joseph & Amos played in the yard happily. If you’re a mother you know how much of a help it is when your children play nicely.
Other than our arms feeling like jello when we were done, the canning process was very simple. We boiled the cubes until soft but not mushy, spooned them into jars leaving 1/2 in. head room, added broth from the same pot the squash was boiled in (although you can use boiled chicken or beef stock as well), and placed on the lids as quickly and tightly as possible. The best part of canning comes just after processing the jars…hearing those lids pop to tell me they’re sealed and I’m done.
It’s a lot of work, but well worth knowing exactly what my family is eating. I know how it is grown and that nothing crazy has been added for color or any other ridiculous reason. Plus, it’s a great lesson for the kids. It teaches them where are food comes from and how to appreciate the things we work for.
These pretty jars will feed my family a Butternut Squash soup for lunch once a month until next year when I may possibly tackle trying to can twice as much. We’ll see.
The vegetable stock (leftover water off boiled vegetables) comes in handy for other soups and meals!