Sunday, November 8, 2009

Can it...

Man am I tired. This past week has been like swimming in jeans. Slow and squelchy. And tiring. I'm not sure if it's the fact that we just had Daylight Saving Time start and it's dark early or the fact that I'm not getting good-quality sleep.

It seems anymore that the wind howling through the rigging wakes me up almost every night. For some reason, DC harbor has been getting gale-strength-sounding winds hit around 3 a.m. Not conducive to good sleep.

At any rate, even for being tired, I got a good amount done this weekend. Being that I don't have a refrigerator or a freezer, I've had to get creative with my food storage techniques. Rather than eat a lot of store-bought canned food (yick!) or have to go to the supermarket every day (over the summer, I went to the fish market every day and ate grilled fish with tomato slices and corn almost every night) I turned to home canning. This weekend, I drove out to a farm in Frederick and got a half bushel of Granny Smith apples and a bag of orchard seconds (apples with small bruises or imperfections) and canned it all. I yielded 6 quarts of applesauce, and 12 half-pints of apple preserves and apple butter. I saved a few apples to eat this week too. Trust me, they're waaaay better without the wax from the store.

So how did I get started on the path to 1950s Suzy Homemaker with my canning? Last year I decided to can applesauce just for a lark -- seriously, I can't remember why I decided it was a good idea to put applesauce in jars. I remember the furtive search all over Baltimore for the actual jars (I got started mid fall when Wally World had already put theirs away for the year), but not what drove me to can. In any case, this struck me as a great idea for this year.

So far, (and I think I may be finished -- unless I feel called to make marmalade for my boyfriend when citrus season rolls around) I've canned:

Apple preserves
Apple butter
Tomato sauce (plain -- contents? Tomatoes and a teaspoon of lemon juice per jar. Nothing else.)
Tomato chunks (I mix this tomato-basil chunk mix with sauce for spaghetti)
Tomato salsa
Raspberry jam

In my life Before Boat, I made huge pots of food -- chili, soup, tomato sauce, applesauce -- and froze it into portion-size packages. Now I can ingredients to make life easier. Next year I'll get a pressure canner and I'll be able to do beef stew, soups and vegetables.

Canning's other benefits? It's economical (I picked all the produce myself and the jars are reusable) but it's also locally grown food, I know exactly what's in it and, well... it just TASTES better.

Who can argue with that?

NOTE: Pictures to follow when I get back to my camera -- and get some sleep!


  1. You are awesome to be canning. I can't get over of my childhood canning hatred.

  2. It's jam I don't like so much. Sticky and lots of cleanup. And tomatoes because they're annoying to peel. But with my handy-dandy apple corer-peeler-slicer, canning applesauce and apple butter are a complete breeze -- thank you Craigslist!

  3. You go, sailor.

    You in the District? You armed? You feel like inviting a crotchety old editor/mentor to visit the cabin that floats?


  4. You can visit anytime! I am in DC, but just until December, so act fast if you want to see the Washington Monument from the bow of a boat.

  5. How awesome! I have always wanted to learn how to can, however never had a teacher. I just found your blog through your comments on mine (thank you :) and can't wait to read through some more of your entries. I am intrigued on how you came to live on a boat! :)