Whitesburg KY

Canning a thing of the past

I have been thinking of the good old days again and the way people survived from day to day with very little outside help.

Back in those days, the vast majority of the people who lived in the country raised a garden. In fact, they raised a garden which supplied most of their needs as far as vegetables were concerned. They had nice, fresh produce in the summer plus plenty to preserve for use during the winter months.

Some people didn’t yet have electricity and had to can, dry or pickle their produce. They couldn’t put it in a freezer as we do today. In fact, I daresay there is very little canning done in this day and age.

I remember quite well feeding a fire for hours under a #3 washtub filled with glass jars of beans, usually quart jars instead of half gallons because they were easier to manage. Half gallons were usually reserved for pickling because a container deep enough to be able to keep them completely submerged was hard to come by.

We used to sit for hours and hours on the floor of the porch stringing beans on twine string to dry. The ones that were past the stringing stage we saved for seed or for soup beans.

To me, homemade kraut is a lot better than store bought and I really didn’t mind chopping the cabbage up to make kraut. I hate picking beans with a passion but didn’t mind putting them on strings. As for potatoes, I didn’t mind planting or hoeing them, but I purely dreaded it when it came time to dig them. But I sure did love to eat them, whether they were fried, cooked or baked.

I don’t reckon I ever ate any potato salad while growing up. Never ate a hamburger or a hot dog either, and a bologna sandwich would have been a real treat with a slice of homegrown tomato on it, and may a slice of onion.

Little things which are taken for granted now would have meant a great deal to me back then. I ate so many shucky beans and cushaws I would have to be famished to eat either one of them now, and I am by no means too good to eat them.

And that’s all from the funny farm till next time.

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