My Faithful Canning Companion

Farm Journal's Freezing and Canning Cookbook was published in 1964, the same year I was married. My heritage required that a housewife preserve fresh food for the winter months ahead. For my mother and grandmothers that meant root vegetables and hardy fruits, like apples and pears, went into the root cellar and everything else was “put by” into jars.

As is the nature of all new homemakers, I wanted to blaze my own way. So, Farm Journal’s Freezing and Canning Cookbook appealed to me. I determined to embrace the modern ways and began freezing the majority of my fresh food.

Farm Journal was a very popular magazine during the first half of the twentieth century. When it came to the magazine’s food section, it contained recipes and food tips from farm kitchens around the U.S. Farm Journal gathered them into a series of cookbooks. For me, this particular cookbook was literally my guidebook for everything I wanted to freeze. Today we take it for granted that we can freeze our food, but it was a new concept among the members of my family and friends.

During those early years I continued to preserve some of my food in jars. I preferred the taste of peaches and tomatoes in jars. I usually made a batch of strawberry jam each year too. As I became more confident with the first half of this book (freezing), I then began exploring the last half (canning).

I discovered a whole section of gourmet jams, jellies and pickles. The jars on my shelves could rival those of expensive jars found in upscale shops in big cities. I especially loved the jams that called for mixing fruits together. My favorites are Blushing Peach (peaches and raspberries), Ruby Preserves (strawberries, raspberries, and cherries), Oriental Pear Jam (pears, pineapple and ginger), and Triple Fruiet Jam (apples, raspberries and pineapple).

From this book I also learned how to make the best sauerkraut, pickles and relishes. Again, I have my favorite: Sauerkraut in a Jar, Crispy Dill Pickles, Bread and Butter Pickles, Mixed Garden Relish, and Rosy Watermelon Pickles.

From time to time I’ve purchased those slim volumes put out by the Ball Jar Company. I’ve found some gems in there along with their bright pictures. But I remain loyal to my faithful canning companion. The pages are old and worn and there are very few pictures, but it’s still my tried and true friend.

Believe it or not, Farm Journal’s Freezing and Canning Cookbook is still available. It can be found at Amazon.

This was first posted on my blog, Joyfully Retired


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