Now, don’t worry - I am realistic about how much time and effort to put in to such endeavors. I know a few people who work harder in their gardens and their homes to put up so many vegetables than they do at their real jobs! Some even buy extra freezers and put in extra shelves in their pantry just to make room for all that they have put up! I am more of the mindset to put up what my family enjoys, what I can give away as gifts, or what I can’t buy at the grocery store. For example, I have learned that I can purchase frozen peas that my family loves just as much as those I have put up in the past, and they cost less than those peas I put up myself. Plus, shelling peas is one of my least favorite activities - probably second only to shucking corn.
Several years ago, I put up creamed corn with my mother-in-law at her home. Now, the process of creaming corn is just about one of the messiest jobs when it comes to putting up vegetables. You can imagine the piles of corn shucks all over her carport, since we shucked it outside. Then, cutting the kernels of corn off the cob shoots the starchy corn juice all over everyone and everything. After blanching the corn (we used her microwave after cutting it off the cob), we scooped the creamed corn into freezer bags. As careful as we were not to lose any of the precious corn, we still managed to spill it onto every counter in her kitchen. After working so hard all day, the last thing any of us wanted to do was clean the kitchen, but it had to be done.
Since then, I have discovered our county’s Canning Plant - and what a wonderful discovery it was! They have everything you need to put up just about anything you want: plenty of huge stainless steel sinks and tables, steam machines that blanch your vegetables in just a few minutes, all the canning equipment (including the cans!), and my personal favorite - corn cutters! Now many people have their own corn cutters, but the folks that run the canning plant have done one better. They have built boxes to hold the cutters over your pan, which is sooooo much easier than holding the cutter and the pan and the corn with only two hands while trying your best not to cut your finger off! And the best part of going to the canning plant is that when you’re finished, you just hose everything down and go back home to your nice, clean kitchen.