J is for Jars of Food

Over the years, Mom canned thousands of jars of green beans, corn and other vegetables. She made pickles and tried offbeat recipes like turnip kraut. Rows of jars filled the cellar and kept the family well-fed back in the fifties and sixties.

She continued to can fruits, vegetables and meats even though there was no longer eight people sitting down to dinner at the round oak table. Dad maintained a huge garden and in retirement, he even helped with preparing the foods for the canning process.

Having grown up during the Great Depression, they thriftily ate homegrown foods all winter.  They had more than they could eat, so sent visiting grandchildren home with jars of food.

When they took their tomatoes and potatoes to the farmer’s market, there was always a colorful display of Mom’s homemade jelly. They were particularly proud of the sand plum jelly as there were few places to find these wild plum bushes. People marveled at the dandelion jelly. The heritage recipe was passed down from my dad’s pioneer ancestors.

Gail and Clyde Martin with their jams and jellies at the farmer's market.

Gail and Clyde Martin with their jams and jellies at the farmer’s market.

Remembering their mothers canning foods back in 1930s, they collected vintage jars and displayed them on high shelves. One grandchild borrowed the antique jars to decorate the tables at her wedding reception. They were delightful filled with hand-crafted paper flowers.

Mom collected vintage canning jars to display in her kitchen.

Mom collected vintage canning jars to display in her kitchen.

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9 thoughts on “J is for Jars of Food

  1. My grandmother made jars and jars of homemade pickles… we would sneak to eat them.

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  2. I love mason jars anyway and I love the picture of your mom’s collection. I remember my granny’s basement full of jars, especially the year the basement flooded and all those jars clinking together as they floated around the room. Fun Christmas memory for my brother and cousins, not so much fun for our parents and grandparents.

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  3. I used to can and made green bean pickles a few times back in the 1970s when I had a huge garden and no freezer. Once I started freezing, canning fell by the wayside.

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