County Fairs and Canning

Summertime is still County Fair time for our neck of the woods, and we try to support the local events against the inexorable march of modernity.  I’ve been saddened to see the volume of exhibits dwindle in past years, as I’m sure it is an indicator that we are losing our rural life skills.  This year I decided to learn how to can, having grown up with my mother’s freezer jam – and reminded by my husband (who apparently loves to sleep on the couch and can’t figure out how he keeps winding up there) that his grandmother’s canned peaches were the best on the planet.

After much ado, buying jars and scavenging recipes, I came up with a nice selection of jam, spreads, and some fairly fantastic spaghetti sauce.  Now for some human testing… Oh yes, the Fair is coming up.  Nice, anonymous subjects to spring my creations on.  Practically untraceable if anything should go wrong.

Off to the Fair.  Everyone in the family entered this year, with some surprising results…

Drew was thrilled to receive a red ribbon for his wooden model of a catapult, while Kendra was pleased with her double placement in drawing and painting.  David’s Tri-Loom for weaving was on display with other wood-working exhibits.  I snagged some blue ribbons in spinning and dyeing wool, and placed in knitting, weaving, and yup…canning.

Most surprising of all was a grand champion ribbon awarded to my Plum Surprise Chutney.  What the judged didn’t know, is that I don’t even like chutney, never tasted my recipe, and still haven’t opened any other jars of it in the pantry!  (Although I was able to pawn some off on dear Uncle Fred – it’s vinegar bite nearly killed him, but he recovered enough to stir it up with something else and swallow it down.)

We also viewed the livestock and vendor exhibits, cooling off with sweet tea and lemonade, and having our favorite fried green tomatoes for a treat!  So, the fair was another grand success, and can be counted as a proving ground for mad kitchen scientists…  Check out their site below (they may be looking for new food judges next year).