Appalachian Food Preserving/Canning

One of my Favorite things about Winter

can house

One of my favorite things about winter is getting to enjoy the bounty of our garden.

All the goodness is nourishment for our bodies and knowing those jars and freezer bags are full from our own hands and the sweat of our brow is beyond rewarding.

As if that wasn’t enough, there’s another reason I enjoy opening those jeweled jars and digging through frozen packages in our freezers.

I’ve long realized we have memories and emotions tied to certain foods—like how we can taste a certain food and instantly be taken back to childhood. But in the last several years I’ve come to think of food in connection to the day it was plucked from the vine.

When I open a jar of tomatoes I swear I feel the hot summer sun beating down on my head and shoulders, I smell the rich scent of tomato leaves and compost and I hear the sound of jar flies.

When I open a jar of greenbeans or cook a pot of dried beans I swear I hear the laughter and friendly banter of our family as we pick beans down the rows then set around stringing and breaking them.

When we add a frozen package of zucchini to a pot of soup I swear it adds a little taste of sunny summer mornings to the mix.


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  • Reply
    Dona Silver
    February 6, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    I can goods all year round. My mom is Dutch English on her moms side and her dad was from Portugal. She taught her five daughters canning in our Brooklyn New York kitchen from a very young age. I have canned over 5000 jars of jam in the past 7 years and I grow most of the fruits. Mom was the oldest of 12 children so there are many many traditions in our family that mirror the Appalachia life. I love watching your YouTube tutorials and listening to your rich proud history. Thank You.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    Your description of summer’s bounty being enjoyed in the winter is what I think of as I open up the jars of those items we’ve canned or froze. I love the whole process of gardening and preserving what we don’t eat. This time of the year I’m itching to be outside, so instead, with the cold weather, I’m ordering my garden seeds and being excited when those seeds arrive!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    What a wonderful description of the bounty of the seasons Joys

  • Reply
    Rosamary Christiansen
    February 3, 2021 at 5:34 pm

    Looking back, I truly believe the best part of summer vacation from school was nurturing the garden, harvesting then canning the fruits of our labors. Lids popped. Jars labeled. The down to the basement. Mom’s shelves would groan under the weight of the gleaming jars. Finally Winter arrived and it was time to enjoy the food we so carefully prepared.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2021 at 2:51 pm

    Your colorful jars of home-canned food are a work of art!

  • Reply
    Annette Atwell Sparks
    February 3, 2021 at 11:47 am

    Hello Tipper
    I’m from Lexington, although I haven’t lived there in 40 something years. I was raised by my grandparents who had ancestors from Eastern Kentucky and Virginia. I grew up hearing the sayings and the superstitions you speak about. It made my heart sing to listen to you talk about such things. I felt such a connection. One evening my grandson came into the kitchen while I was watching one of your videos and he said “her voice sounds a lot like yours Mimi.” Ironically, prior to this I told my husband that I felt like my voice was coming from you only with a stronger accent. I worked hard to drop my accent for years because I was shamed for it by a Dr. where I worked as a teenager and then later when I was in college. I am retired now and I don’t have to watch my words anymore. I enjoy hearing myself talk with the accent I grew up with years ago. I am enjoying making the recipes you are sharing and listening to the wonderful interviews you do of your people. Before I end I wanted to ask if you could share the pumpkin seeds you talked about making pumpkin pies with. I would love to have a few to try and grow and can my own filling. Thank you Tipper. I’ll be seein ya on your You Tube channel.

    • Reply
      Donna W
      February 3, 2021 at 4:00 pm

      I’m in Missouri, but I love to hear accents, whether it’s southern, or the way people talk in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Accents are getting rare these days. When my husband travel in the north part of the country, they say we have a southern accent; when we travel south, they tell us we have a northern accent. I guess we’re kind of “on the fence”.

  • Reply
    Catherine Spence
    February 3, 2021 at 10:58 am

    There’s a great quote from Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”: “I think of my canned food as fast food paid for in time up front.”

  • Reply
    Allan Guy
    February 3, 2021 at 10:07 am

    Have you ever heard jar flies called dry flies? I had never heard that expression until I married this lovely lady from Western Kentucky.

  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    February 3, 2021 at 9:18 am

    One thing I remember from my parents’ and grandparents’ gardening and canning days is listening for the lids of the Mason jars to pop as the food cooled, confirming proper sealing. I remember lying in bed and hearing the lids “snap” as I drifted off to sleep. If a jar didn’t seal correctly, as happened occasionally, its contents were used right away rather than a second heating and sealing of just one or two jars.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2021 at 9:09 am

    I am making vegetable soup to take to a sick cousin today. Just about every vegetable in the soup will be what I canned or froze from my garden. The only thing that is store bought is the cabbage. I have just enough taters and onions left to make the soup. Vegetable soup doesn’t have the same flavor without canned tomatoes and summer memories.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Nothing like it. I can’t imagine only having canned food. I can more in the Winter, because my garden has decreased in size. Winter is a perfect time for canning pinto and black beans for salads and taco soup. Also, it is so easy to have roast already cooked in the jar for soup. Almost every member of my family has tried to get me to quit using a push mower and to quit trying to raise a garden. Why would I when that is where I obtain food and get great exercise. Besides, that is where I am happiest. Most have given up when I told them when my time comes to go, and I am found out in the garden its okay. I went out happy doing what I love best. Staying inside I would miss the smell of the very old rose bush, and the sounds of birds singing.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2021 at 9:01 am

    We make at least one crockpot full of soup each week during the Winter. Tomatoes, bell pepper, squash and sweet corn always go in. Potatoes and some chicken, ham or ground beef sometimes and store bought beans added later. Okra sometimes in my bowl – my wife won’t consider it.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    February 3, 2021 at 8:42 am

    This past summer it became really difficult to get canning supplies. I’d like to think that meant more people were canning but I think it was really troubles with manufacturing and distribution because of the virus. In my search for them I became aware of new types of canning rings and lids. Have not seen them in the store though.

    Your picture brings to mind one word above others “satisfying”. There is ust something about something done and well done, especially when – as in this case – it holds the promise of future rewards yet. The second word is “beautiful” with those shiny jars and bright colors. I notice red and green are the most common – the Christmas colors. Very appropriate in several ways.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    February 3, 2021 at 8:17 am

    I have recently thought about asking you to show us your canned storage area just to see how much has been eaten by your loved ones so far this winter. I think the way you speak of the garden and her fresh, plentiful bounty , you’re in love with nature. It shows in every little thing you do and say and every detail you share with the world. I think Tipper is a woman of the earth as well as the salt of the earth!!! We are blessed to have such a fine lady in our lives to enrich and add a little spice of the good life!!!! Thank you dear lady friend!!!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 3, 2021 at 8:15 am

    Those memories are treasures, every single on of them. I LOVE your picture of the filled jars! It speaks volumes and I hear all their words. This is your life and your heart and your peace of mind all in one photo!
    This post touches my heart, I know there is love in every jar!

    • Reply
      February 3, 2021 at 5:54 pm

      Miss Cindy I love how you worded your post , so loving , especially how you said, “ It speaks volumes and I hear all their words” … beautifully said .

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    February 3, 2021 at 7:50 am

    Gosh Tipper. Now that my canning days are over I guess my memories are going to be walking down the aisles at the local Ingles store. Just kidding of course. I do have lots of memories from going back to the farm to pick tomatoes. Some of those memories are not so good also. Especially the time I got a terrible case of poison ivy. I do miss the folks I did the picking with. Most of my relatives are long gone.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2021 at 7:07 am

    What a beautiful pantry you have! it is wonderful how you can recall those precious memories as you open those jars and bags and cook the contents! Then you can make more memories as you sit and enjoy the food together. I think one of the most rewarding parts of the life of a wife and mother is watching her family enjoy the meals she prepares. This is the way God intended it, and living out His plan brings ultimate peace. May God continue to bless you and your family!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2021 at 6:41 am

    Homegrown in the winter is as good as it gets. Yesterday we had a senior snow day and stayed home, cooking a homemade veggie soup with beams,corn,potatoes and tomatoes from the past year’s garden. The smell was as good as the meal with plenty left for today. It made perfect sense to finish ourorders from the seed catalogs as we awaited our supper.

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