My very first jar broke today. It was a good lesson for me in how hot the stuff inside the jar needs to be versus the boiling water. Initially I was frustrated by it, but after reflecting about the incident I think it was a good thing. First, I know how thermal shock works. I understand glass, even tempered glass will eventually break if there is a sudden enough temperature change. Heating up the food in the jar to a boiling point is important, but sometimes we get lazy and push it. Second, only one of 8 jars broke, which really gives Ball jars an A+ in my book and third it was whole fruit, rather than something like jam which would have made a bigger mess. I was able to just scoop out the broken jar and the fruit.
Canning can be so exhausting, spending hours washing, peeling, cutting and stuffing things into jars is such a good way to reflect on how life was 100 years ago. Experiencing making things with your own hands is one of those things we need to learn as a spoiled, modern society. I’m certainly not giving up my computer or the internet, but I think it makes us stronger people to go back to our roots and not only learn how, but also do these things on a regular basis.
For me, canning is a means to an end. It’s just a way to have better tasting produce when it’s not available during other parts of the year and to get to experiment with my own recipes. Dole doesn’t make cinnamon, clove, allspice sliced peaches and smuckers doesn’t make chai pluot jelly. Even if they did, I know exactly what is in the jar I make. I know exactly when it was canned, where the food I am canning came from, how fresh it was when I canned it, etc. I feel good knowing that when I give the jars to my family that they’re not full of chemicals I can’t pronounce. The power over what you eat is a good thing.