06 July 2009


My grandparents recently died after a well lived ride. They had been married for over fifty years. They had two girls together and raised eight amazing children (my grandfather was married to my dad's mom for several years - my dad being baby #7). So a lot of life lived. I as one of about 50 grandkids received an inheritance of about 150 canning jars (I think we all got about that many!). I was totally stoked being handy in the kitchen and in need of more jars for my tomato crop this year. There was a catch though - remember if it sounds to good to be true it probably is... I had to empty a life time of canning out of said jars.

My grandmother canned everything so we started a guessing game of what we thought had been in the jars at one time before the tiny organisms took over. Green beans were the easiest. They looked pretty good - at least River thought so. They were probably done in the 90s. '93 was the latest marked jar and '61 was the earliest. Beets weren't so bad either. They had kept their shape and the color was amazing - a beautiful sunset salmon, EEP has slippers that color. Next were cherries. They looked like, well, cherries. River wouldn't touch them (I started covering everything with cherries at this point). We opened apricots, peaches, and pears - all quite sloshy it made me think of "HOLES" and "sploosh", a very descriptive word brought home. Plums were a little gelatinous. At one point I thought I had opened spiced peaches but the kids figured out it was tomatoes with seeds. So far everything was worth the effort and our garden soil was going to get a rich boost.

The last two boxes (eight in all) sat too long to get put into the garden (I will post pictures - the corn is thigh high!!). I decided to use the toilet and disposal. This is where it may become to gross for the weak stomachs in the group...I opened the box and found most of the jars were half empty...no there was no juice on the outsides, so I guess it could have been worse. Inside the jars were masses of white and pink gloppy matter. I made the mistake on the first jar in not having enough air in my lungs for the whole project. I had to breath...It was b-a-d! The smell was the kind that lingered in the back of your throat and you could actually taste it in your mouth. It was probably toxic - I'll let you know if we die this week. Apparently at one point this had been some sort of meat. I am assuming the first few jars were...beef, maybe lamb? and the rest we're fairly confident were chicken. I haven't been able to eat any chicken since...we need to let that one mellow for awhile.

But now we are DONE!!! Shiny, clean jars fill my shelf waiting for fall to come around! I am sooooo glad I have a dishwasher!!! Blessings all around today. How amazing is that though?! My grandparents gave me the gift that keeps giving. My children and I have had the most bizarre bonding experience that we are most likely not going to forget anytime soon (smell is the strongest memory). In the fall we will bond again over steaming tomatoes and peaches and in the winter we will giggle over spaghetti and peach cobbler. What memories they have given us! And I thought I was getting empty jars! I can only hope that I leave something so miraculous for my grandchildren!