Monday, April 18, 2011

Ball Blue Book Giveaway

Cleaning out the cellar a week or so ago. As I move this box and that box, rearrange this crate & shove that crate over there I find these two new or nearly new canning utensils, a jar lifter and a funnel. No box just these two put inside an empty pot covered by a lid tucked behind an apple crate.
I really do need to either keep a running log of my canning supplies or simply stop buying "stuffs".

Finding these reminded me of when I first started canning and why.
I had just bought this old fixer upper the year before.
I had also just gotten divorced after 10 yeas of being married.
I had three young children under the age of six.
My grand total of monthly income with child support was just over $600. Thankfully at the time my mortgage was under $250 a month.
I was sitting on an elderly neighbor's porch talking about putting in a garden and freezing my harvest since I hads moved here with a small upright freezer.
The conversation turned toward home canning which I had done only once with my Abuela as a young girl. Pears from a tree she had planted. Had I ever considered canning my neighbor asked ? I was too embarresszed to admit that I couldn't afford the equipment.
Next thing I knew my neighbor was telling me to send the children to the corner deli for boxes that she had someting for me in her cellar I needed to go get.
She stood at the top of her basement steps yelling down to me to open the door to the root cellar and behind apple crates (which must be a given in Buffalo basements) stacked on shelves were canning jars. A good sixty or more.
She apologized for there not being more she had been a career woman so she only canned a few things. Nothing like her mother or aunts.
Are you sure ?
Yes oh please yes just fill them. Feed your babies.

Part of me wanted to be embarrassed. After all I was a nurse who if child care wasn't an issue could earn enough money to feed her children well. This was my shit hit the fan scenario.
As we hauled up the boxes of clinking mason jars past her she just keep saying how happy I had made her. How happy she was to know that these jars would be used.

I still have those jars ... Ball, Kerr, Atlas, Anchor Hocking, Opal, Perfect Mason, Strong Shoulder.
We still use the Squeezo she gifted us.
In our backyard. Just like she said her husband use to use it cranking away sitting on the picnic table smoking a Camel and sipping on a beer yelling to her to get the jars ready the tomatoes are coming.

Seriously, the first produce I ever canned by myself was applesauce from an apple tree located in front of the YWCA a few blocks away. I'll never forget the day I walked in and asked the receptionist if I could pick apples or her stunned reply when just as she was starting to say that those apples aren't edible she looked down and saw my three children each eating an apple.
I checked out a Ball Blue Book from the public library, and used a big stock pot borrowed from my church's kitchen.
I scored a small box of gnarly looking rings @ an estate sale and bought lids from a $ store.

Allot happened that first year.
I started a cleaning business were my clients understood that my children worked with me.
I eventually found decent affordable child care that my other two children could walk to from school which gave me an opportunity to work on call @ local nursing home.
I also learned to can applesauce.
Which we ate on cooked oatmeal.
Or baked with.
Or just plain eaten with a spoon an a bit of cinnamon sprinkled on top.
I filled those jars and feed my babies.

So yesterday I reach for my recipe binder and out pops this new Ball Blue Book of Canning 100th Anniversary Ed. that was gifted to me last Christmas. While I appreciate the sediment I already have a well worn edition of Ball's Big Book of Canning, along with Putting Food By & Stocking Up.

So in the spirit of my neighbor and dear friend who recently passed away I present my first ever give away.
If this offends u that the utensils aren't NIB or that I am re gifting a book that I admittedly thumbed through, well all I can say is that this must be the first blog post you have ever read written by me.
Let me introduce myself, I'm pelenaka, an ghetto Amish urban homesteader who is fugal.

Here's the bind - I really want to give this to a canning newbie, a novice. Hopefully someone who would really use the skills of home canning to make a difference in their home both financially and nutritionally. So I ask that if you already own a canning book & or canning utensils please don't enter.
I will also include a box of both regular and wide mouth lids to get you started. NIB I'm not that fugal.
All u have to do is hunt down those empty jars at yard sales, flea markets, or your grandmother's cellar.

That said, simply write me an email with the subject line "Ball Blue Book Giveaway" to enter. 
My email addy is located on the right hand side of my blog under give a shout out.
I'll write every one's name who enters on a slip of pink paper and  put them in a half gallon Ball canning jar then shake it up.
Winner will be picked by someone other than myself.
Not sure who yet but it's gotta be some buddy good.

Winner will be picked May 2nd by 9 p.m. Buffalo time a.k.a. EST.
You'll have 48 hours to return my notification email that your the winner with the address u want the package to be sent to.

In the event that I don't receive a reply back from the winner within 48 hours then another slip of pink paper will be drawn from the canning jar and I'll send them a notification email.
Please respond promptly canning season is sooner than you think.

~~ pelenaka ~~



  1. Very nice. You are a good person. My garden and canning fed my 2 little girls after a divorce: 35 years ago. I still garden and do those 2 little girls for their family's.

  2. Thank you but no I'm really not a very good person.
    Such a blessing how canning works like that.

  3. That's a beautiful story! I have my grandmother's hand me down stuff (including a pressure canner I'm afraid to use). I hope someone gets good use of your gift, it's so much better to pass on a book than let it gather dust.

  4. Thanks Bethany, put the word out please.

    I know what u mean about a pressure canner I didn't use the one I bought for 3 years because I was so afraid.

  5. Ok I will admit that I have my own canning book but I would like to know if I can enter for a friend. I have a dear friend who is just starting and borrowing most of my stuff or we work together. Her daughter has severe allergies so we are processing food so her daughter can eat. She too like me is a stay at home mom; so she works on a budget.

    Let me know if I can enter using my name and hers. I would have her do it but she is not very good on the computer. I am teaching her that too.

  6. Please email in with her name. BTW great karma u mentoring.
    Good luck !

  7. What a great story! I love how we remember learning these skills and those who have helped us with them.

    And thank you for posting more frequently again. I really enjoy your blog!

  8. Thanks you Bridget, I'm trying to do a blog challenge of one post for every day in April.
    Good thing I'm not batting 4 the Yankees.


Thanks, good to know there are other's with this interest