Around these parts, home preserving is a way of life.

It may be an old-fashioned skill, but it is perfect for modern day living. Whether you grow your own produce, visit a pick-your-own farm, or purchase from a farmer’s market, canning, freezing and dehydrating is a great way to keep enjoying the fresh flavors of summer for many months.

In 2020, when people were stuck at home due to pandemic lockdowns, a renewed interest in home gardens and preservation caused a shortage of canning supplies in stores. But those who have been preserving for decades had all the supplies and tools on hand.

Jana Jewell, of Spartansburg, began canning 16 years ago. She made sure I understood the only reason she began canning was, “Because my husband is spoiled. His mom and grandma canned and he never ate store-bought vegetables. I never canned before I met him.”

Jana’s mother-in-law, Chris Jewell, taught her the basics and still often lends a hand. Jana relies on the “Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving” for most of her recipes, and sometimes uses mixes for things like hot pepper jelly.

Along with hot pepper jelly, Jana cans salsa, pickles, hot mustard, dilly beans, green beans, peaches, zucchini relish, applesauce and deer meat. The produce she preserves often comes from her own garden.

Her sons, Liam, 10, and Max, 8, help their mom with some of the canning prep work, snapping beans and slicing cucumbers for pickles.

“We were all set when the world shut down for COVID,” Jana’s husband Travis said. “We didn’t have to go shopping thanks to Jana.”

Jana uses her kitchen for all processing and utilizes both a pressure canner and hot water bath. She preserves enough that it always lasts until next season, and sometimes she has things left over.

“It will last two years, but after that, I get rid of it,” Jana said. “If something is leftover, we don’t waste it. We have animals to feed it to.”

Like Jana, my personal canning skills were learned from my mother-in-law. As the kid of a U.S. Air Force career man, we moved a lot, therefore my mom didn’t can —packing up glass jars of peaches and shipping them to the next base wasn’t really an option.

When I married Bruce, I mentioned to his mom that I thought it would be fun to learn to can.

“Step right up,” Alice said. And that day we made preserves.

Since then, most of my canning consists of jellies, jams and chutneys. When it comes to vegetables, I freeze those. I haven’t tried dehydrating food yet, but I’ve heard it’s yet another great way to preserve.

Do you home-preserve? I’d love to hear from the folks who read this column about your favorite method of preservation and what flavors of summer you enjoy most in the winter. Email me!

For more information about canning, visit the Penn State Extension website and search “canning,” “freezing,” or “dehydrating” for tips and recipes.

What’s up?

Zumba is Thursday at the Water Street Apartments Gym, 150 Water Street. The class begins at 6 p.m. and there is a fee.

Contact me

Do you have something to share? Carol may be reached at People are welcome to submit news, activities, and items of interest pertaining to Spartansburg. Email by noon on Saturdays.

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