I decided that any preserving I did this summer when Phoebe was a newborn was a bonus. I am quite surprised and pleased at how much I accomplished, with the help of the big kids and some strategic planning. The big kids could care for Phoebe if I needed to pull jars out of the canner or some other time-sensitive thing. Thanks to the methods in Bringing Up Bébé, Phoebe can be patient with some delays if I had miscalculated my time or her needs. She is also a pretty predictable napper by now, so I coordinated my projects with those naptimes.
Some of the totals below actually represent several days of split-up work, especially the corn, which I froze by just processing a few extra ears every time we had corn for a meal. I didn't manage to take photos or blog it along the way, but here's the roundup.
16 pints strawberry freezer jam
3 pints strawberry rhubarb jam
8 pints sour cherries, frozen
7 half-pints maraschino cherries
7 pints dilly beans
7 quarts kosher dills
8 pints pizza sauce
10 pints blueberries, frozen
4 quarts green beans, frozen
17 pints pickled red beets
6 quarts red beet brine
10 quarts canned peaches
6 pints sweet pickle relish
6 pints peaches, frozen
5 pints peach salsa
7 half-pints salted brown butter peach jam (from Preserving by the Pint)
4 quarts pears
21 pints corn, frozen
20 quarts whole tomatoes
9 pints salsa
6 half-pints tomato jam (from Food in Jars)
8 quarts pizza sauce
2 half-pints chocolate pear jam (from Preserving by the Pint)
I ordered some more seconds tomatoes for tomorrow to make tomato soup. I also will watch for cheap red bell peppers for pimentos, and also seconds apples for sauce. And then I'll be done!
When I look at this list, I realize how experienced I've become as a canner. Sometimes I wonder why I do this to myself (I mean, yes, there are all the right reasons - local food, thrift, straight-up skills, etc.) but it's just so much work.
I know some of my mom friends have time for other things because they are not canning. I'm not locking myself into canning (see the first sentence of this post), but right now in my life, my satisfaction with the results is worth the time and work.
Are you a happy canner, a wishful canner, a former canner, a what? I'd love to hear about it.