Luxury Craft

Is canning and preserving a moneysaver or a luxury craft? I’ve got no illusions there; it’s definitely a luxury craft. I’m glad the author makes the apt connection to knitting. We do these things to feel connected to our environment, to produce something tangible with our own hands, to create something that hasn’t existed before, and to bring a little bit of joy into our modern lives. We’re lucky that we have the opportunity to do these things. But no, it won’t save you any money. This is what money should be for.

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  1. It all depends on the context, doesn’t it? My childhood was filled with preserved fruit and vegetables, most of which I didn’t like (I was a very picky eater). Even then, I don’t think preserving saved much money – certainly not if you costed what was seen as the ‘free’ labour of gardening and preserving. The equipment was passed from generation to generation, so there was only the occasional purchase of rubber rings or new and fancy bottles. But what it did provide was access to a broader range of foods when fruit and veg were much more seasonal than they are today, and when transportation of food from outside the local area was rare.

    I still see preserving as a labour-intensive task that results in a product I’d rarely use because I usually have access to the fresh version of the preserved fruit or veg. But I think all the reasons you give for the pleasure you take in preserving are very valid.

    I think there should be a rider to the question: ‘…and does it matter?’

  2. If you were preserving things that you had grown then the cost wasn’t the point – it was not wasting that drove people with fruit trees to preserve the fruit. Also, fruiterers used to offer bulk fruit and veg in late summer and autumn – light-weight wooden boxes of tomatoes, peaches etc. They were often not perfect, but you could cut the soft spots or the odd hard bits out. This was called a ‘case’ of fruit, and my mother used to wait until the price of a case dropped below a certain amount before she would buy it for preserving. The cases were chopped up to be used as kindling for the winter fires.

  3. M-H. That’s the kind of lesson I need to learn. Frugality and using everything. So important when you look at how much of the food produced is wasted.

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