May 16, 2008

Ball Home Canning

If I toil in my garden long enough and if the bugs, weeds and heat don't do it in, perhaps I'll eventually need this book (or the more recent version):

The Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving Recipes (1943, 56 pages) is a standard reference for both novice and experienced home canners. This particular edition is Edition V and was published during World War II, a time when home canning was an attractive prospect for many reasons, one of which was the high number of ration points needed to buy canned food. Home food preservation was also a way in which homemakers could feel like they were contributing to the war effort.

Like many of the food company cookbooks published during this period, reference is made to wartime within its pages: The following is found inside the front cover:

This Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving Recipes is dedicated to the home canners of America in admiration of the magnificent contribution they are making to the nation's food supply.
More is found at the end of the book:

To Save is to Serve: Home-makers can food because it is pleasant, convenient, economical, and healthful to have a well stocked pantry in time of peace. In time of war, home canning must be done so that all may be well nourished. All surplus fruit, vegetables, and meats must be saved by canning for every jar of home canned food will be needed by you, your children, your neighbors, and your nation.

Today, the Stars and Stripes fly over a land of freedom. We can, we will, keep it so, if we but remember that the wages of waste are high and that saving on the Home Front brings Victory on the Battle Front.
Although the Ball Brothers are obviously promoting their products, a variety of glass mason jars and lids, they do a fine job of explaining every detail of home canning in the meantime.

This book is filled with fabulous, detailed instructions that range from selecting the appropriate containers, explanations of the different methods of processing, timetables and recipes for all types of fruits and vegetables.

Instructions for processing meats, poultry, fish and game and soups and stew are also covered. I've never had any home canned meat or poultry. My father once remarked that he sure missed his mother's home canned chicken. Thank goodness for freezers is all I can say about that.

I picked 8 lbs of blackberries at a Pick-Your-Own farm the other day, most of which I put in the freezer to use for making cobblers. Perhaps I'll give them another visit next week and get enough to attempt some jelly or jam. The booklet contains a recipe for Cantalope Butter, which might be interesting, assuming I can harvest the cantalopes before the wildlife does.

Although I don't consume enough pickles to consider making any large batches of them, I am fond of sweet pickles with horseradish on occasion. Unable to find the Nathan's brand down here, I thought I might have to resort to canning my own. Adding a big dollop of horseradish to the Sweet Cucumber Pickles recipe in this booklet might have worked. Fortunately, last week I discovered Boar's Head Sweet Pickle Chips with Horseradish at one of the grocery stores, saving me the trouble.

A neighbor recently gifted me with a jar of home canned "Cowboy Candy," a sweet relish made of ground up jalapeno peppers. Since it was so good, and gone in less than two days, I might have to make some of that.

In the back of the recipe book there's a full-page color illustration of the different Ball jars, jelly glasses and lids that were available at that time.

I didn't learn the art of home canning from my relatives. By the time I was old enough to care anything about it, my grandmother had progressed to that point where she used old mayonnaise and peanut butter jars for the containers. My mother and I experimented, learning together, several years ago, and canned some tomatoes, pickles and jam that required nothing more than the boiling water-bath method. I've also made a good deal of strawberry and peach freezer jam in my time, but I've never canned anything using the pressure canner.

My mother once gave me a lovely new pressure canner that I never used. (I was afraid of it.) I stored it for several years, eventually selling it at a garage sale for $10. However, now that I've successfully learned how to use a pressure cooker with out blowing up either the kitchen, or myself, I wish I still had it. I can see that my fears regarding pressure cooking have cost me in the long run--it's going to cost a little more than $10 to replace that canner.


Remove rind and seed from ripe melons. Cut melon into small pieces. Add just enough water to prevent sticking. Boil until soft, then press through a sieve. Measure. Add from 1 to 1-1/2 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon or other spices to each quart pulp. Boil until thick. Pour while hot into hot BALL jars. Process 10 minutes in hot-water bath; then complete seal.


At 4:34 AM CDT, Blogger Rochelle R. said...

I have edition U from 1941. It has a patriotic message also. A former owner wrote next to the Cucumber Pickles- Sweet, "This we hope is the super pickle". Wonder if it was.

At 7:16 AM CDT, Blogger Kathy said...

Rochelle - I love the old Ball Blue Books. They contain some great information.


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