Monday, August 13, 2012

Garden Frenzy: What Are You Doing with All Those Vegetables?

As we hit the middle of August (yes, mid-August already--I know it seems surreal, but the summer has moved by that quickly), gardens everywhere are starting to yield. If your garden is anything like ours, you spend all spring and summer planting, weeding, watering, waiting and thinking: When will those vegetables ever be ready???

Then you wake up one morning, and the vegetables are indeed ready. All. At. Once.

Suddenly you go from buying vegetables at the grocery store to wishing you could sell vegetables at the grocery store. And the vegetables just keep coming, zucchinis the size of baseball bats and tomatoes that you can hardly figure out what to do with before they rot.

So now that you have a whole slew of vegetables fit to feed a third world country, what do you do with them?

At our house, we can. Dilly beans and pickles, pickled beats and radishes, salsa and tomatoes, and just about anything else we can manage to stuff into glass jars.

As a mom with two little kids, I also realize how much time canning takes and what a chore it can be. So my husband and I usually tag-team the canning. Since he likes to cook, he'll get the brine for the pickles ready, chop veggies for salsa, or do something else to help prepare the food. Meanwhile, I get the jars and lids around. Then we fill the jars together, and while he puts the lids on and processes them, I clean up.

All in all, it's a system that works pretty well at our house. I realize that every house is different. But one fact remains: Doing all the canning yourself while you take care of kids is TOO MUCH WORK FOR ONE PERSON.

So don't be afraid to ask for help, whether it be from your mom or neighbor or husband. Having help with canning makes the process go a whole lot faster, and then you've got those yummy, garden fresh vegetables to savor for the rest of the year.

Question for today: What's your favorite home-canned food to eat?

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