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Cleaning out the closets

By Laurena Mayne Davis

Just like your wardrobe, your canned goods need a good going-over every year.

Out of date? Hanging on just in case you might need it, someday?

Give it away, or compost it, and free up your jars and shelf space for something your family will actually eat.

To can is to have near-perpetual enjoyment of the summer bounty. But nothing lasts forever, and uneaten canned goods and shabby supplies should be sorted and tossed or you’ll find yourself with shelf upon shelf of pickled beets from the ‘90s.

Like clothes, I give my canned goods two years, max. If we haven’t eaten it by then, I either canned too much of something (easy to do) or my family didn’t like it. And every once in a while a dusty, unlabelled jar is discovered lurking behind something else. Not risking that.

So, so long mystery brown jam.


 

Cheerio, faded cherries.

Pack it in, mushy peppers.

My approach is hardly scientific, but it is in line with what the experts recommend. The National Center for Home Food Preservation (hyperlink to: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/index.html) is a great resource for canning information.

Canning supplies need to be up-to-snuff, too. The wonderful thing about canning jars is they’ll last for decades. Almost all of mine are hand-me-downs from the two generations before me, maybe farther back than that. I love comparing them and seeing how jar styles have changed over the years. But if they’re chipped, they need to be flower vases.


 

Not everything lasts as long.


 

Au revoir, rusty rings.

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