Grandmother's Canner


Where we live (rural), most folks grow a garden or at least a container or two of veggies.  Anyone who raises produce of any quantity knows that when the crop “comes in” you have to do something with it.  So the weekend prior to last (7/16) was spent, not at the farmhouse, but in my house canning peas – three canners or 21 quarts. Green beans are soon to follow in like manner. This will be my 2011 batch to be enjoyed over the upcoming winter months.

The canner pictured is a No. 7 made by the National Pressure Cooker Co. of Eau Claire, Wisc. USA.  It is about a 1960’s model, if not older.  It was given to me by my Grandmother Page.  She used it for years and years and canned uncountable numbers of jars of produce and other food items.  After she gave it to me I did not use it for the longest time because it was, well, antiquated.  Instead, my step-mother and I ran her canner up and down the road between her house and mine, until one summer my step-mother says, “Have you tried to use that old canner?  Your grandmother and I used it and it always worked fine.”  So that summer, I got it out, cleaned it up, put in a new gasket and a safety pop-up valve, both of which were unbelievably available at a local hardware, and I put the old girl to the test.  She did wonderfully, being as she is as old, if not older, than I.

Every summer when I use the old No. 7 in the old ways of times past, I think of my grandmother — of her being in her kitchen preserving vegetables and other food products for use in the winter months. I recall her voice and her ways and her sayings. It is good to preserve the memories.