As a girl growing up in West Virginia we always had a garden. My mother was raised by her great grandparents, and I can remember their large garden and sitting on the front porch string green beans to be canned. A couple summers before my mother passed away we had a really good haul from our garden at the end of the year and we canned several quarts of tomato sauce and vegetable soup along with some banana peppers. I remember my mom making grape jelly as well. I helped her do the canning, but haven't tried doing it myself. Sometimes if we have lots of green tomatoes at summer end I will make refrigerator pickled green tomatoes, they never last long enough to be canned anyway. One of my goals this year is to learn more about canning. I have several of my mom's books and her boiling water canner. I think I am going to start with something simple, some jelly, jam or marmalade and try out some sort of pickles too.
My sister and I plan on doing it together, as well as getting together for some sister sewing time every so often as well. I also want to have Sunday dinner every so often at my dad's house like we used to do at my grandparents every Sunday. At Christmas my brother in law mentioned he really missed my pork chops and homemade gravy, and at Thanksgiving my sister mentioned hopefully that I had made a buttermilk pie. Unfortunately I hadn't, I made a cheesecake pumpkin tart (which was also good)
I have a little notebook my mother got me for Christmas one year, specifically for writing down my favorite recipes. I was looking through it tonight (I made ham and spinach quiche, which has quickly become my boyfriend's favorite meal) and was thinking about all the amazing recipes that I haven't made in a long time. My mother and I loved to cook and bake together, and we were always trying new recipes, or making up or own. I have a cheesecake recipe that is AMAZING. We had been looking everywhere for just the right cheesecake recipe, and tried several different ones. There were two in particular that were ok, but both were missing something, so we took our favorite parts of both and tweaked them to come up with our own recipe.
I love my country heritage. My mother and father both grew up in families that raised their own food, made their own clothes, etc. I want to embrace that more, get back to my roots so to speak, and I think canning is one way to do just that. I have picked out a few different recipes I plan on trying this year.
These are pretty basic canning recipes, with few ingredients, and just the basic techniques that I have used before with my mom. It's been a long time since I have canned anything, and never without my mom around to do most of the work (I usually ended up blanching and peeling the tomatoes, boiling the jars, etc)
If all goes well I would also like to invest in a pressure canner so that I could can lots of other vegetables and some meat.
My other goal this year is to work in my garden a lot more. My dad always has a little vegetable garden with tomatoes and lettuce, sometimes cucumbers as well. I'd really like to convince him to build some raised beds this year and try planting a few other seasonal things like radishes or cabbage. I neglected my flower garden a lot last summer too and hope to work on it a lot more. I have a blackberry bush too, the last several years it has put out a few blackberries the last several year but birds always seem to get them, hopefully this year I can keep the scavengers out of it and have enough to make some blackberry jam or at least a cobbler.
What non sewing goals have you set for yourself this year?