Why I Can

It was a longer day than necessary yesterday. At a certain point I looked at Steven and asked, “Plums?” He nodded. I opened up a jar, divided it between two bowls, and we feasted.

As good as they are beautiful

Plums are in the purple family. Just look at a box of Crayons. They are good canned, dried, and fresh, but the canned ones are best, in my opinion.

This year I had a source of the prune plums that grow pretty well here, where they grow pretty well, anyway. Ours killed out in a bad winter and never produced much. The thicket that grew up from the rootstock produces small plums that may turn some color, but we only see them green before the squirrels and chipmunks get them. Each year. All four.

Because Cait sells at the Farmers Market in summer, she alerts me to the good stuff when it hits there. “Plums,” she called to say. “Local.”

I’ve always loved canned plums, and used to buy them in oversized cans from the grocery store. Then the supply switched to only store-brand cans. Then my store could no longer get those from their supplier. None of the other stores can, either.

Online? you ask. Amazon has 15-ounce cans three for $19.51. That’s what I paid for one of my batches of plums. It made a dozen pints (16-ounce) and didn’t have to be shipped anywhere.

I have eaten the plums.. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As canned fruit, plums are slightly looser-fleshed than peaches or pears, and pure purple goodness. I can them in two ways: in light syrup and in diluted cherry juice. Both are delicious. The cherry’s sweetness is slightly different from the syrup’s sweetness, maybe a little more complex. Of course, I could add ginger next year and see how we like that, but these are already so good, I hate to mess…

It’s easy enough to can them, too: sterilized jars, hot syrup, water bath canning. We have fewer than a dozen pints left, and it’s a long time until plum season. Of course, until then we have a stash of an exclusive treat.

If I ever find a supply of fresh figs, I intend to put them in jars as well. When I was a girl in Southern California, Mom bought them canned in glass jars. Their taste of fruited honey stays in my mind to this day. I haven’t seen them in stores in years. You bet I’d can my own!

Fig preserves – wish they were mine!

After revelations about plastic and its part in our lives and deaths, I’m not crazy about buying commercially canned goods anyway, unless they’re in glass. I’m glad to be able to put some things into my pantry more safely now via my canner, and hope to expand to pressure-canning (non-acidic fruits and veg, meats, stews) next year.

Taste, safety, convenience, and sometimes the satisfaction of enjoying the exclusive joys of proprietary goods – all are good reasons to can. Even more than freezing (which usually wins for ease of execution), canning provides food security. I’m finding that tailoring our supply to our tastes satisfies so many pieces of our world, it’s hard to find fault.

More canning next year! And with any luck, a good solar drier for the south garden..

Thanks for being here – stop by when you can! (Get it??) I gratefully accept “likes” and encourage sharing in almost every context.

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under Canned goods, food, Personal Economy, Self-reliance