Canning: a timeline

Sunday 9/26

6am – alarm goes off
6:30 – I actually get out of bed
6:45 – animals are fed, I make a pot of tea, and start pulling canning jars out of every hiding cabinet, and the backups from the basement
7am – comparing recipes and ingredients I come to the realization there are enough tomatillos for a quadruple batch of salsa
7:05 – I’m going to need to buy two more boxes of canning jars
7:15 – after comparing cupboards with ingredient lists I’ve created a comprehensive shopping list
7:30 – mouse poop has been washed out of the basement jars
7:40 – finally dressed and in the car for church and shopping, I realize I never drank any of my tea
8:57 – at the grocery store, I realize I left my carefully composed shopping list on the kitchen counter
9:25 – accidentally cause a mini-scene at the checkout line because the “coupon” for the merlot is actually a mail-in redemption. I switch varieties of wine. After all this is for pasta sauce, not a dinner party.
9:45 – leaving the farm and garden store I realize they either missed one of my purchases or the canning jars were half price. My receipt isn’t itemized so I don’t know which and I just head home.
10:18 – I remembered everything on my shopping list!
10:28 – Tea reheated I decide getting the jars into the dishwasher for sterilizing is my best course of action.
11:33 – it’s taken almost an hour to fit everything into the dishwasher. I may have started a bigger set of projects then I realized.
11:45 – I need another quart of tomatillos, heading out to the garden.
11:50 – SO GLAD I have a food processor, 2.5 quarts of tomatillos chopped for salsa in about 30 seconds.
11:55 – I almost take off my thumb at the knuckle cutting sweet corn off the cob.
1:06 – No white vinegar? How’d I miss that? I run to the corner store.
1:15 – eating corn of the cob for breakfast, or is it lunch already?
1:35 – set up the GIANT canning pot on the out door cooker.
2pm – first batch of salsa in jars, second batch on the stove.
2:05 – starting to thaw the tomatoes.
2:30 – I pour myself a glass of wine.
2:35 – 25 8oz jars of salsa in the canner. I have to stack them, but use the wire rack between the jars for water circulation.
2:55 – jars out of the canner and cooling.
3pm – clean up salsa mess in preparation for tomato messes.
3:15 – making up my own spice mix for the ketchup: peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, clove, ginger and paprika.
3:40 – the squeezo may be messy, but nothing else takes 7lbs of tomatoes down to 6 quarts of juice and pulp this quickly.
3:55 – ketchup is simmering, but I have to add more juice a little at a time because it won’t all fit in the pot at once.
4:13 – based on my rough calculations if I start the pasta sauce now I’ll be canning until 10 or 11.
4:15 – the glass of wine surfaces, and I actually drink some of it.
4:16 – I decide to plow ahead, the jars are already sterile, and I don’t know when I’ll have another chance to spend all day canning.
4:30 – Gallons of frozen, marble-like tomatoes out of the freezer and into the sink.
4:40 – chopping onion, and fresh herbs 1-3 cup amounts.
4:45 – I’ve peeled so much garlic my thumb is starting to bleed.
5pm – Neil’s home! He throws himself into the fray rescuing me from the garlic.
5:30 – I squeezo, squeezo squeezo while Neil sautes the herbs.
5:45 – more squeezoing, its taking so long as I’m working in batches as the tomatoes thaw. Neil chops the fresh tomatoes.
6:15 – Neil cracks the two bottles of merlot, all but one glass go into the sauce.
6:30 – Simmer, simmer, simmer.
6:40 – I realize I have no corn chips to go with my extra salsa – back to the store for the 3rd time today.
7pm – Simmer, simmer, simmer…
7:20 – I start cleaning, chopping blocks, kitchenaid, bowls, buckets, and more.
7:59 – Salsa lids are all sealed! 25 jars go into the cupboard.
8:20 – I finally find 30 minutes to sit down.
8:50 – Ketchup finally simmered down, 15 4oz jars go into the canner. I need the flashlight to find the canner outside.
9:11 – Ketchup is cooling on the counter.
9:45 – Pasta sauce is ready!
10:15 – 13 pint jars go into the canner.
10:30 – I’m brushing my teeth and putting on my PJs while the jars boil…
11:06 – Pasta sauce out and the canner is turned off.
11:15 – All the jars are all labeled and cooling on the counter.
11:30 – Bedtime

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9 responses to “Canning: a timeline

  1. I love when other people also have to wash mouse poop out of canning jars, and it’s not just me.

    This morning I realized that the half bushels of plums and pears I canned this weekend made enough jam/fruit/syrup to meet the needs of a family of four for an entire year…but there is just two of us, and represents only 2 of 6 (7?) fruits I’ve canned this year. It’s wonderful, isn’t it!?!

    • It is wonderful! (the canned goods, not the mouse poop) Although I need more pasta sauce if it’s supposed to last all year. But hopefully we’ll be good on jam, and salsa.

  2. If you store the jars upside down in the cupboard they won’t get stuff in them. I do that with beer bottles to keep junk out of empties.

    • Eh, these boxes were in the basement. Being A) in a sealed box and B) upside down didn’t stop them from getting dirty. Mouse poop on the top of an upside down jar still needs to be washed off before I can sterilize anything…

      I can tell you the story of the mouse that DIED inside a right side up beer bottle if you’d like…

      • Your canning adventures sound hilarious, much like my mom and I had this weekend with three cases of plums. You’d think between two of us we could remember from one year to the next how long it really takes!

        But ick! I found a dried up mouse trapped in a bird-food bag in the garage the other day… poor little bugger.

        • three cases of plums!?! That sounds like a delicious weekend. Did you just can them, or make jelly/jam/chutney/something first?

          At least you know a dead mouse in a bag of bird seed died happy…

  3. I have had canning days that felt this long, but I bet they weren’t. I enjoyed the timeline!

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