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Every Step in Canning   By:

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The Cold Pack Method



Formerly Associate Professor of Home Economics, Iowa State College



It was six years ago that I first heard of the One Period, Cold Pack Method of canning. A little circular was put in my hand one day at a federated club meeting announcing the fact that in a few weeks there would be a cold pack demonstration about fifty miles away. Immediately I announced that I was going to the demonstrations. So leaving my small daughter with my mother, I went to the Normal School at DeKalb, Illinois, and heard and saw for the first time cold pack canning.

It is sufficient to say that those three days were so crowded full of interest and new messages on the gospel of canning that I felt amply repaid for going fifty miles. As a result of that trip, the first story ever published on cold pack canning appeared in The Country Gentleman and I had the pleasure of writing it. So enthused was I over this new, efficient and easy way to can not only fruits but hard vegetables, such as peas, corn and beans, that I wanted to carry the good news into the kitchen of other busy housewives and mothers.

My mother had insisted that I take with me my younger sister, just from college, but with no domestic science tendencies. So, much against her wishes, preferring rather to do some settlement work, my sister went with me. The canning was so interesting that for the first time in her life, my sister became enthusiastic over one phase of cooking. My mother was so pleased at this zeal that when she received my sister's letter written from DeKalb, saying, "Mother, I am enthused about this canning and want to can everything in sight this summer," she hastily washed all available glass jars and tops and had everything in readiness for young daughter's return. And we canned. We were not content to can alone but invited all the neighbors in and taught them how to can. Our community canned more things and more unusual things, including the hard vegetables, that year than they had ever attempted before.

Do not think for one minute it was all easy sailing, for there were doubting Thomases, but it only took time and results to convert even the most skeptical ones. And here I must make a confession. It was much easier for my sister, unversed in any phase of canning, to master this new method than it was for me with my four years' training course and my five years of teaching canning behind me. And this is the reason. She had nothing to "unlearn," she knew no other method whereas I had to "unlearn" all my previous methods.

The one period, cold pack method is so entirely different from the old hot pack or open kettle method that to be successful you must forget all you ever knew and be willing to be taught anew. And right here is where many women "fall down" they are not willing to admit that they know nothing about it and so do not get accurate information about it. They are so afraid of appearing ignorant. This false feeling is the greatest obstacle in woman's way.

I still go into small towns on my lecture trips and women will say, "Oh, that cold pack canning isn't new to me. I have used it for thirty years." And when I show my surprise, they further enlighten me with, "and my mother used it before me, too." With a little tactful questioning I usually get these answers: "Of course, I do not hot dip and cold dip. I never heard of that before. I pack the products into the cold jars and for all vegetables I use a preserving powder because there is no way on earth to keep corn and peas and such things unless you put something into them to keep them. Fruit will keep all right. Then I cook them in my wash boiler until they are done." And when I ask, "How do you know when they are done," I invariably get the answer, "Oh, I take out a jar once in a while and try it." It seems like such a hopeless task to change all these old fashioned, out of date methods of cooking but with a great amount of patience and much actual canning it can usually be done... Continue reading book >>

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