I grew up eating home-canned peaches, pears, applesauce, green beans, pickels, etc. I have memories of my Mom and Aunt Shirley in the kitchen, canning freshly picked veggies and fruits. For whatever reason, I didn’t ask to join them and learn about canning.
Fast-forward several years. I’m tired of eating store-bought canned fruit. I want to try canning my own.
Enter my high-school friend. Michelle cans every year. At the beginning of this summer, we decided that I would drive to her house and we would can something fresh.
Strawberry season came first. Although it’s not really canning, Michelle invited me to join her in making freezer jam. I had to decline—no extra space in my RV freezer for jam.
We waited until peach season. I was drooling thinking about delicious home-canned peaches. Unfortunately, peaches were VERY expensive this year ($43-$72/bushel). I opted out again.
According to Michelle, canning pears at the perfect ripeness can be a bit tricky, so we didn’t try to schedule to do that together.
That left apple season. Last week Michelle and I compared calendars and picked a day to can applesauce. I was so excited.
Now to get some apples.
When my children were young we would get together with another homeschooling family and pick apples. As the kids aged, we began going to the orchard as a family. We could pick 50lbs of apples in no time. We’d store them in the cool garage and I’d make fresh batches of applesauce every few weeks until the apples were gone.
When we first started traveling, we found ourselves missing that annual apple picking adventure. While in New York, we found an orchard and picked a few apples to keep the tradition alive.
That was 2010. Most of our travels since then did not put us in apple territory at the right time, so the tradition was laid to rest. (Side note: we did pick apples with members of a street gang last year - but that’s a story for another time).
Now I need apples for canning. I told my family we were going to the orchard to pick. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday and we enjoyed the drive 30 minutes south to a well-known Michigan orchard (Cranes). The parking lot was full of cars and the trees were full of fruit. We each took a bag and began picking. A short while later we had over 60lbs of apples.
We detoured a bit on the way home, walking over and around a historic bridge that Mike knew about.