I often wondered where the phrase “can it” came from. It was a phrase often used when growing up like when asking someone to be quiet, or shut the heck up, stop speaking, or get rid of it.
The phrase in our house of 11 kids growing up was usually associated with a stern stare and/or a whack up side the back of the head (too bad there wasn’t any concussion protocol back in the day). LOL
For our concern let’s accept that it was merely the intended interpretation, to can food, after rigorous preparation the suggested fruit or vegetable in question is canned and stored most often for future use. (I know a very long explanation but hey, I’m trying to class up these stories don’t you know).
Whether it’s in preparation of the “Zombie Apocalypse,” the threat of button man in North Korea, or the impending Yellowstone eruption there are many reasons to continue the tradition our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents (ad infinity) have taught us and encouraged us to do — can and store those wonderful, bountiful goodies for times just like these — cold winter days and nights.
During the past holiday season I’m sure many of you, like me, received something some loved one prepared, created and canned or bottled for you as a heart felt gesture of love (sometimes used as an inexpensive way to fill a basket, sock or gift box … sorry Mom … I said I love it, and I do!). No I’m not calling my Mom cheap, just old and on a limited budget … but I digress.
This is the perfect time of the year to dig into all the hard work that was done this past year and to enjoy the taste and wonderful smells by popping those lids on the great items canned.
For me it’s those wonderful Ohio home grown stewed tomatoes. Start with some butter and garlic in a pot. Add some finely sliced onions and sautée. Toss in the tomatoes and cook at medium heat until it reaches your desired hotness.
In that same vain the tomato sauce that was canned is screaming for you to make your own original toppings for your favorite Italian dishes or homemade meatloaf — great comfort food this time of the year.
And you cant forget to breakout those canned fruits. Here in Ohio, apples and berries are the most popular. For me it’s that homemade strawberry jam/preserves. Oh man, a hot cup of coffee and toast with jam in the morning on days like today … you just cant beat it. And as soon as you open the jar the smell of those delicious strawberries from the variety of pick-your-own farms here in Ohio just take you back to that warm summer day out in the fields with the great organic smell of the earth and those beautiful sweet berries right off the vine.
Canned juices are another terrific way to blur-out the cold. If you were fortunate enough to have canned any of the variety of Ohio apples, grapes, or once again, that ever so versatile tomato, you cant go wrong. Grape juice is a nice compliment to those winter lunches, and the kids love it. A healthy shot of apple or tomato juice during the day is a better pick-me-up then chocolate or sugar snacks. It also makes a wonderful cocktail mix (don’t tell Mom).
So as the temperatures stay cold, and the snow the ice make it impossible to get around, break out those canned goods hiding under the bed, in the back of the pantry or on a shelf in the basement and start enjoying the “fruits of the labour” that made those incredible delights.
Here’s seeing you, in Ohio Country!
The writer is an award-winning veteran broadcaster for more than 30 years.