I can almost see the end of canning season!
Thank goodness because October is almost over, it's possibly snowing this week, and I'm about to lose my mind. In fact, my sister decided I accidentally pickled my brain along with the zucchini. I think she's right. I'm constantly losing track of what day it is. Work and canning all blur together until Sunday, such a blessed day of rest.
Can you believe I've canned or frozen 278 jars of food since canning season began, much of it from free food (minus the sweeteners/spices)? I was out of hand-me-down jars and running out of garage sales that carried jars, so 1 1/2 weeks ago I put out a request on Facebook. I was willing to trade 1 filled jar for 6 empty jars.
We were overwhelmingly humbled by the response. Between my brother, a ding-dong-ditcher, and someone from church, we received some cash, a peppermint plant (yay, a new kind of mint!), some used jars, and multiple boxes of BRAND NEW JARS!
Other than an occasional glance in the store, I'd never experienced new jars before. My mom and grandma always used hand-me-downs and that's how I got started in canning, with gifted jars from people who no longer needed them. These new jars are awesome. I don't have to check for chipped rims, I can replace my ancient dented/dirty rings, and I don't have to scrub dirt and dead bugs out of jars.
Of course my immediate response was to tell Nathan we could go pick more free apples, since I now had jars! I'm glad we did, because the last tree we picked had excellent quality apples.
I also had the opportunity to pick grapes. A coworker wasn't planning to use his grapes this year. I picked Concord and some other kind, and he gave me a start of each vine. Hopefully we'll have grapes in a couple years. In the meantime, thanks to my steam juicer and a significant lack of sleep, I was able to put up 11 quarts of delicious sugar-free grape juice and save two glasses' worth for our enjoyment. Yay!