When I was a kid, we had a large garden and put up veggies. We jarred ketchup, beets, beans, tomatoes, corn and other crops. I just don’t understand why we call this “canning” when it’s “jarring” with glass. Sign me, Corn Fused
But there’s another question here. Why do we “put up” food when we preserve it?
As an epic epicure, Action Line puts up with all sorts of edibles eschewed by choosy chewers.
We’re talking Brussels sprouts, pate, oysters, liver, mushrooms, garlic, peas and all kinds of stinky cheeses.
But serve beets and Action Line will beat a hasty retreat.
This confounds Mrs. Action Line, a great fan of the earthy, purple root.
She relishes it as a side dish.
Beets are music to Mrs. Action Line’s ears. “All the more for me,” she says.
But “put up” pickled beets are something Action Line will not put up with.
What else should we not put up with?
Ending sentences with a preposition!
What’s the world coming to?
When the great Winston Churchill was scolded for ending a sentence with a preposition, he snorted: “This is the type of errant pedantry up with which I will not put.”
In any case, he reportedly disliked pickled onions and, not surprisingly, the German dish sauerkraut, which is pickled cabbage.
One could reasonably assume that pickled beets would not be dinnertime’s finest hour at the Churchill estate.
It might be jarring to return so abruptly to the topic of canning, but it’s time to dish.
“Canning” was the result of a challenge from Napoleon Bonaparte, who offered a reward to anyone who could invent a way to preserve fresh food so it could be supplied to far-flung French troops.
In 1810, a guy named Nicolas Appert, a brewer, won the prize for his method for sealing foods in glass jars.
There were issues. The glass was fragile, the process was laborious, and the Napoleonic Wars ended before glassed chow could be widely used.
A couple years later, a pair of English entrepreneurs refined the process using handmade, airtight iron cans.
From there, “canning” began to become more widespread.
Various inventions and improved processes, along with the need to feed hungry troops, made canning more practical and economical.
By the mid-1800s, machine-made steel cans were invented and large-scale food preservation hit its stride.
So did small-scale home “canning.”
In 1858, John Landis Mason patented a reusable glass jar with a screw thread on the outer lip to which a metal band and rubber-ring lid were secured.
That’s why we call them Mason jars.
And just for the record, the city’s dilapidated Mason Center is not named in honor of food preservation.
If you want more information about putting up fruits and vegetables, check out the local CSU Extension office’s website, laplataextension.org.
Nicole Clark, a registered dietician and the family and consumer science education agent, has posted some tips and expert advice about canning.
Nichole is also offering a “cottage foods” class in July.
“No, it’s not about making gingerbread houses,” she said with a laugh.
Cottage foods are homemade foods sold to other people.
No matter if you’re putting up food for home use or putting up food for sale, the Extension Office can help you develop a can-do attitude.
Thus, if you don’t like the quality of commercial foods, you can put up or shut up.
Email questions to email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 80301. You can request anonymity if you leave the kitchen door ajar when you can.