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Wanting to finish canning…

November 24, 2009


I want to set a goal for finishing my canning/preserving activities for December 1st.  Apples I had expected to pick and keep to eat “fresh”, suffered through a wind storm and became windfalls overnight.  So plans change.  Sigh.  Chunky applesauce they will be.  I still need to process my naked seed pumpkins, so maybe I will make my pumpkin pickles.  And my Harsch pickling crock is crying out for sauerkraut – even though I have been thinking lately, that crock looks pretty good stored in its box, and the cabbage is looking pretty good in the garden.  And not really on the preserving front, I am thinking of going AMA (against milking advice) and drying Della off.  Lots of milk in the freezer, but not long enough to last for her dry time.  But, I have milked her too long, and I need to quit for her and her baby’s sake.  I will miss milking – not too sure how she feels ’bout that though… .

I guess I am dying a slow death by canning, now the latest thing to fear is BPA in canning lids!  And if you look closely my apples are touching an aluminum colander, and probably because my dogs stick to us like glue, I have canned numerous dog hairs that I haven’t even seen.  Would that be denatured protein, pressure cooked dog hair?  We live in a modern world and its full of contaminants.  I don’t really see anyway to avoid many of them.  I, frankly am tired of being constantly bombarded by fear mongers.  The media (all types) constantly is warning of this and that.  Probably if you live in a new airtight house, and drive a new car that has lots of plastic in it, and have a cell phone or ipod at your disposal, you’re being exposed to lots of toxins.  So, since I live in an old house that can breath, drive an old rig, don’t own a cell phone or ipod, maybe I can cash in my credits and still do some home canning.  I will not run into the other ditch and buy all new Weck jars – what’s in the gaskets?  Probably not real rubber anymore, but something that no doubt could harm you, if you’re not careful. 

When I think of the things I do everyday that could be dangerous, if I worried about them, I wouldn’t do anything.  Della could go off the deep end and gore me, or kick me in the face.  Then I would have to come in and do different spread sheet and figure out just how much that raw milk is costing me.  Not to mention I would have to hire a relief milker to milk while I was convalescing.    The guy sighting in his high power rifle on our trees, could decide to not back down and leave when I bitch him out asked him to.  But I still have to tell him to leave, because if I let him keep pumping lead in the trees, it could leach and travel a mile to the creek, that then would go 3 more miles and fall over a water fall while a tourist  communed with nature and littered at the same time.  Then I would be liable for lead poisoning of the prolific, but fragile Swinus americanus

So I proceed with caution every day.  I eat mincemeat out of the jar that was not cooked to death, but still canned against (which BTW tested low acid enough for water bath) the governments advice.  I still will feed my cows sometimes by putting my pickup in gear, get out and let the pickup drive itself while I get in the back with a weapon (pocketknife) and cut twine (dipped in rodenticide) from the bales, and meter out the hay.  I will play with matches now until May most every day and eat vegetables straight from the garden.  I won’t wash my hen eggs.  I will probably conduct science experiments with bad things like lye and fat.  I may be stupid enough to grab the cast iron pan without a potholder, and will burn my hand rather than drop my precious lid.  And if that isn’t enough I will most likely be eating eggs everyday fried in butter!  And it is a wonderful, unsafe life!!

55 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    November 24, 2009 8:29 am

    Amen. I have done most of that, and am the only person in my circle of friends who has not succumbed to every virus/illness around. I played in dirt as a kid, licked spoons that were put back in the batter. I am alive and kickin with a healthy immune system. If you believed everything that you are told by media sources and medical journals, you’d be afraid to leave home. Wait! Don’t most accidents happen at home? Maybe we should levitate in a bubble. Not.

    • November 24, 2009 1:05 pm

      Susan, if it wasn’t so sad it would be funny – but everywhere we turn, or anything we say is upsetting something or someone. My mom used to pour the blood from the bird into the dressing mix, along with all the raw eggs etc., and soon as she would turn away my brother and I would sneak a spoonful! And then wait dutifully to be asked to taste it and get some more. If the phone rang, we would take bowlfuls of the raw dressing and hide it – she must have suspected, but never said a word. I’ll just keep on my same path, I guess it is fairly safe… 🙂

  2. November 24, 2009 8:57 am

    AMEN to that baby!!!!

  3. November 24, 2009 9:02 am

    Great post! I’m with you about the fear mongers. I grew up in a house with asbestos ceiling tiles and I think I grew up just fine. We used to place outside and got dirt on our hands and we grew up just fine.
    I hope you reach your canning goal.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    • November 24, 2009 1:07 pm

      YDavis, I know we have some asbestos on our furnace ducts. It scares the heck out of me, not. I probably ingested more asbestos propagating nursery stock than I ever have in our house. Oh Well! Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  4. November 24, 2009 9:16 am

    Amen sister. Good for you. Bring back the common sense.

    • November 24, 2009 1:08 pm

      Jocele, too bad common sense is hard to teach – things may not have gotten out of hand so quick.

  5. November 24, 2009 9:18 am

    Boy do I agree with you! And you made me laugh about the “fragile Swinus americanus’


    Have a delightful Thanksgiving!


    • November 24, 2009 1:10 pm

      Linda, I am a little jaded after working as a tour guide for the Forest Service in the National Forest. Some people really behave badly.

      Have a great Thanksgiving!

  6. greenhorn permalink
    November 24, 2009 9:40 am

    I wish my Grandmother were alive to read this post. She died at the age of 93, probably from eating out of aluminum pots!! 🙂 Keep on “truckin” MOH

    • November 24, 2009 1:14 pm

      GH, I wish she was too! My neighbor always says you gotta die of something. And I think she is right. I don’t use aluminum for any high acid cooking, but I doubt the apples touching the colander warrant me throwing it out 🙂

  7. November 24, 2009 9:56 am

    I hope these worries aren’t keeping you up at night. Lack of sleep can lead to all sorts of problems, they say. ;-P My sister was surprised to find out that there may be some worms ground up in our cider making. She’s decided to be philosophical about it instead of giving up the cider (better a worm or two than loaded with chemicals).

    • November 24, 2009 1:16 pm

      Sadge, hardly anything keeps me up at night these days 😉 Smart sister, if it was good enough for the worm than I suppose it will be good enough for humans, plus it will probably add character to your cider!

  8. November 24, 2009 10:05 am

    And if you wait long enough, someone will come up with a study refuting the one that says you are killing yourself by eating/touching/drinking xxx. Just remember, chocolate is bad for you. Oh, no, wait…chocolate is good for you. Maybe it’s listening to the fear mongers that is bad for you.

  9. November 24, 2009 10:25 am

    It should go without saying that if you don’t want someone shooting into your trees, for whatever reason, you have every right to tell them to stop. And I love your sarcastic example of lead poisoning on swinus Americanus. But I’m also a nit-picker where firearms-related issues are concerned, and so I’d like to point out that extensive studies have been done on the effect of lead bullets on the environment. These studies have been backed variously by the EPA, opponents of shooting ranges who desire to shut down the ranges by showing environmental damage, and owners of shooting ranges who desire to keep their ranges open, which is to say people from all sides of the issue. The conclusions have generally been that bullets are solid lead, and therefore do not leach very much at all unless they are in direct contact with water. Lead in a backstop is relatively safe, especially if the lead is reclaimed from the backstop periodically, as responsible shooting ranges should do. Even if lead is not reclaimed, it will remain inert unless and until a water source comes into contact with it; the motive behind reclaiming is just to be responsible because you never know where water will be in the future.

  10. November 24, 2009 10:30 am

    You are right when it comes to individual lives and the risks we take, but…

    The asbestos was mined somewhere, the BPA was produced by someone. I try to cut out “risks” not only for my own sake but also for the people who won’t have to work in the mines and factories that produce these things, and for the fish that won’t have to swim downriver in the runoff.

    Also, if we don’t hold the corporate feet to the fire I think they would be happy to let “us” ingest just about anything.

    That said, throwing away good canning jars and buying new ones probably isn’t that great. It always comes back to not wasting anything combined with common sense. But no one learns that anymore!

    • November 24, 2009 1:47 pm

      EJ, everything we do or stop doing, has a consequence. Deciding what warning to heed and which to ignore is the problem. Read and e-book on your Kindle and save a tree? But you know how much the energy the Google Server Farm uses up. So is it savings, to not make a book, and just to store it electronically. Should I mail my friend a sympathy card, or an e-card? Should we stop the farmers and loggers from polluting the waterways and forest, but allow the airport and the ski resort to do the same in the name of recreation and $$. Same s*&t, different day, I say. Do I have one kid because that is all I can afford, but the single gal down the road has two and gets assistance? I guess I can afford more kids because I am paying for hers. Really, I think there just too many people period. But that isn’t really too politically correct to say either.

      So that being said too – people should (me included) get on Ball’s case and demand the BPA be taken out of the manufacturing. But people need to know that in the 70’s there was a problem with lids rusting through in a short time, and this is the outcome of that demand. So each step, makes a change somewhere else. We just have to be prepared to deal with the result.

  11. Ali permalink
    November 24, 2009 10:47 am

    You forgot, people with latex allergies are allergic to jar rings 😉 Thanks, I’ll take a teeny amount of BPA over factory canned anything, anyday.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • November 24, 2009 1:51 pm

      Ali, I did forget, but that reminds me of a potential meat customer who decided not to buy a 1/4 beef because our processor used Cryovac. They went with someone who sold meat wrapped in freezer paper, not plastic. She didn’t believe me when I told her most freezer paper is plastic coated these days… .

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  12. November 24, 2009 11:02 am

    Gosh, I’m with you on this. I am of an age to have been allowed to grow up with a little dirt on my hands on occasion and allowed my kids to do likewise! If you listen to every scare-story out there you’d never eat or drink anything again. Madness.

    I make my own mincemeat about August, layering the fruits in an old earthenware jar with just a wooden lid on it. All it has to preserve it is a little alcohol and it’s still safe to eat even a year later, and smells DIVINE right about now! I’ll raise a glass of Sadge’s home-made cider to Common Sense!

  13. Paula permalink
    November 24, 2009 11:16 am

    not to mention, those damn Weck jars are expensive!!

    …and not all Americans are pigs….some of us are considerate and try to do the right thing….

    • November 24, 2009 1:56 pm

      Paula, I guess that would be a way for me to cut back on my canning. I think shipping them would be a little excessive too, glass is heavy.

      I know not all Americans are pigs – get a few forest service employees together, who have to memorize the botanical name of everything that a tour bus passenger may see on a trip and jokes start to fly 🙂 I hated duty days at Multnomah Falls – 4 trips a day to the top to pick up litter – great for the cardio workout – but pretty hard on psyche.

  14. Kristen Fry permalink
    November 24, 2009 11:46 am

    I am still laughing!! 🙂 If dog or cat hair is the worst thing I eat (after watching Food Inc.) I will be one happy lady!! Happy Thanksgiving….Hope you have a wonderful one! I am so very thankful for your blog and your wisdom!

  15. November 24, 2009 12:17 pm

    How right you are!!! Everything you do, we do, too. Well, except the milking the cow part, and the letting the truck roll while climbing in the back part. With all the “germy-germs” we must be ingesting by not cleaning our vegs before eating them from the garden, or not always washing our hands before putting our hands in our mouths, we seem to be doing alright. *knock on wood* I have friends who are neat freaks that get sick wayyyyyyyy more than we do.

    • November 24, 2009 1:58 pm

      Jenny, same here, some of our neatnik friends are sick way too much.

      Have a great Thanksgiving!!

  16. November 24, 2009 12:48 pm

    Personally, I’ve decided I will die from all the lead paint in our old house.

    Therefore, I don’t have to worry about anything else.

    It’s amazingly liberating.

    Like my grandmother says, ‘something’s gotta kill you’.

    • November 24, 2009 2:00 pm

      PlantingOaks, not if I die first! I’m sure the lead abounds here too! Your grandmother and my neighbor have the same adage, once I started thinking that way, I didn’t worry too much.

  17. November 24, 2009 3:00 pm

    I figure there’s less BPA in the canning lid than the crap that’s in commercially produced food. It’s not like the food is touching the lid anyways. I don’t worry too much about things I can’t control, but I do eat all homemade food bought from locals that try not to use chemicals if they can. (and besides my canning lids are from a small Amish place and they don’t have the BPA lining and they’re much cheaper).

    • November 24, 2009 4:04 pm

      Susy, that’s what I think too – I’m sure the wild mushrooms I foraged have whatever the rain brings in from the Pacific – so I’m thinking the less my food has traveled and the less it has been cooked can only be a step in the right direction.

      Of course, you know everyone is going to want to know how to get those lids!

  18. November 24, 2009 3:04 pm

    Just wanted to let Jennie know I’ve kept a rum pot going for years. It’s just pieces of stone fruits, sugar, and enough rum to cover. Dip out either fruit or liquid in the winter, replenish in the summer. There’s no telling how old some of the pieces of fruit in there are, since I never completely empty it by the time I start adding to it again.

  19. November 24, 2009 5:39 pm

    Well said!!! I grew up playing with runt piglets on the back porch, playing in the dirt and I’m just fine. (well, that probably depends on who you ask!). My children weren’t squeaky clean as babies and you know what, they were hardly ever sick, as opposed to friends who sterilized everything and never let their children crawl on the ground outside. The one thing that did gross me out was when my darling baby daughter picked up a slug and put it in her mouth. It didn’t kill her but she made an awful face until I got it out of her mouth!!
    The fear mongers have been getting too much press time lately, I think. You’re right, everything has a risk. My mom doesn’t like our new acreage because we have to turn off a busy highway to get here. I figure, I’ve got to turn somewhere! I’d much rather take my chances out here than in town on a busy street.
    Keep up the good work and have a great Thanksgiving!
    Oh, and I’m with you on being ready to be done with canning and I haven’t done nearly as much as you. I just pulled out my water bath canner again last weekend since I had some pears going bad. sigh. Good luck.

  20. November 24, 2009 6:19 pm

    Love it! I must have eaten so much dog hair over the years, too bad I can’t blame the 3ft long blonde hairs all over the house on the dog…

    I agree, I’m sick and tired of being scared of stupid stuff all the time! I long to go back in time before we had this much stuff to worry about. But with the baby on the way, I’m educating myself about crib recalls, car seats and strollers. I have a feeling I’ll have to back off of taking my chances for a while!

    And I’m a HORRIBLE handwasher! And I don’t wash things like apples before I eat them either. Guess that’s why I have such a good immune system? (hopefully!)

  21. November 24, 2009 8:15 pm

    Oh Lawdy, I’m laughing straight through this post…

    The next thing you’ll be admitting to is CANNING your apple butter and pumpkin butter (gasp!) (y’know they try to terrify everyone now about not doing that because it might not heat all the way through, blah blah blah)

    But don’t pay any attention to me. We, too, likely intake “the hair of the dog” on a regular basis without knowing it, and besides, how credible can I be on food safety issues after having spent an entire childhood actually playing in dirt and drinking out of a high-summer-temps water hose?

    heh heh 🙂

  22. Jen permalink
    November 24, 2009 10:53 pm

    I LOVE this post! Oooh… the sarcasm. 🙂 We have 4 cats, a 22 month old son, and a mama who spends more time in the kitchen cooking and fermenting whole foods than she spends cleaning. I occasionally cringe at the thought of how much cat hair and dirt my son surely has ingested by now. Then I look at his glowing, happy toddler face, see how absolutely smart and healthy he is, and those worries fall away. No toxic shots, no processed foods, no toxic cleaners. Natural living, a little (or a lot) of cat hair, and good old dirt seems to make for a happy, healthy little boy! Down with the fear mongers, I say!!!

  23. November 25, 2009 6:04 am

    Great post! I couldn’t agree with you more!

  24. November 25, 2009 6:37 am

    Hi, MoH,
    Don’t worry about the dog hair. Denaturing protein is the first step in digesting it! That’s what stomach acid does. Someday soon we can rest (sixteen quarts of applesauce, 1/3 bushel of apples to go …). I think I’ll make apple crisp for dessert tonight.

  25. November 25, 2009 7:10 am

    Boy, did you open a can of worms on that post! I agree, if we worried about all the stuff that is bad for us. We would be dead! I live my life for me and to hell with anyone trying to tell me how to live it!! If I want to get fat or lose weight, I will. If I want to eat worms I will, etc! Great post by the way!

  26. localnourishment permalink
    November 25, 2009 7:13 am

    *SPOILER ALERT* There was a fascinating episode of “House” this season where a man was raised in an ultra-clean environment as a child. His body wasn’t able to create what it needed for life, so worms grew in his liver. The doctors, finding this, proceeded to kill the worms, which in turn, started killing the patient! The cure was for the patient to consume a parasite that would provide waste products for his body to use. I caught it right away when the patient said a couple times that he wasn’t allowed to play outside as a child because of germs.

    My grandpa used to pull up carrots in the garden, tap the dirt off and eat them. I was horrified and told him I’d run them into the house and wash them for him but he said, “Gotta eat a pound of dirt before you’re healthy, kid. Here, get started.” How did he know microbiology with his sixth-grade education? Life, perhaps?

    The more I research all the stuff I’m supposed to stay away from, the more I realize it’s really a crapshoot. I can only do what I can do. And it all smacks of nutritionism anyway (eat this imported food because it’s high in this nutrient…don’t eat from this other thing because it’s high in this toxin.) All I can really do is the best I can do and then not worry. To paraphrase a favorite book, “Which of you by worrying can reduce one ppb of BPA to his body?”

  27. November 25, 2009 9:00 am

    Great post! I have to laugh at people who buy their food in a store and think there can’t possibly be anything foreign in any of it. Now that’s crazy thinking 😉

  28. November 27, 2009 11:17 am

    Such a wonderfully true post!! I, too, am tired of Everything being bad for us…

    (And Linda is so right…if only people knew what lurks in their innocent food, LOL!;)

  29. sustainableeats permalink
    November 28, 2009 6:54 pm

    I’m flossing my teeth with dog hair right now. There is an old saying that you have to eat a peck of dirt before you die and my kids are well on their way. Life is too short to mutate superbugs with hand sanitizer.

    I also have 2 boxes of apples to go and I don’t think I’ll be done by 12/1 but it’s a lofty goal!

    Now, how can I add your blog to my google reader? I can’t find the right button!

    • November 29, 2009 7:16 am

      Sustainableeats, at the peck rate I should live a very long time 🙂 The nice weather is shooting a hole in my canning end date, but I might be close, besides changing my list a little I change my dates too.

      Does the green RSS feed button work for you?

    • November 29, 2009 2:02 pm

      My dentist where we used to live had a photo of a lady flossing with a horses’ tail – while it was still attached!

  30. sustainableeats permalink
    November 29, 2009 9:04 am

    It works for a single entry but I’d like to add you to my google page so I can see all your entries when I open google. Did I miss the right button?

    • November 29, 2009 10:26 am

      Sustainableeats, I just activated Feedburner, it is supposed to be seamless with the feed – so we’ll see. See Joshua’s comment below, I have no idea what I need to do…?

  31. November 29, 2009 10:07 am

    Regarding RSS: Google reader is pretty smart. If you just put the main page’s URL into it, it’ll probably fish out the correct URL for the feed. In other words, put in “” into Reader and voila! Magic!

  32. sustainableeats permalink
    November 29, 2009 8:47 pm

    OMG am I dense. I FINALLY figured out how to add a feed without your little button. Gotcha now.

  33. November 30, 2009 3:02 pm

    I leave “being safe” as the last resort of those who routinely eat supermarket food. They’d better cover every last thing they can, because surely their immune system isn’t in fighting condition! No *real* nutrition going into those bodies, so they’re probably on the edge of something much of the time.


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