Life in Germany-Late Summer Edition

It’s been awhile since I have shared anything about my life here in Germany.  As of August 1st, we have been living abroad for 5 whole years!  We have been through a lot in those years.  Covid lock downs, which included closing our tattoo shop for months at a time, thus having zero income. (No worries, we are back open and doing well!) Then, on top of that, last year we had massive flooding in our home state of NRW.  We were lucky, we only had some standing water in the back garden, about an inch in the basement, and no power, for a few days.  Many were not so lucky, just down the street from us, people had to be airlifted off their roofs as the high flood waters swirled around them.  Our veggie plot was flooded, that was our only loss.  We were so lucky.

This year, we are having a massive drought in our area of Germany.  We have not had any rain in weeks.  My rain collection barrels are completely empty now.  However, they did keep our little veggie garden watered through most of the drought.  I am happy to say we had a very successful harvest this year.  Loads of tomatoes, a bunch of potatoes, carrots, and plenty of squash.  Green beans too!  I was hoping to start a fall garden, but it seems senseless since the ground is so dry and there is no rain in the forecast anytime soon.

I decided to preserve all of the tomatoes.  I learned to can using the water bath method from my Grandma Leatherman as well as my mother. I have wonderful memories of meeting at my Grandma’s house, all of her sisters there as well as my Great Grandma Leggett on canning day.  All of them worked as a team to blanch the tomatoes, core the tomatoes and prep the jars.  Filling the hot jars, and then placing them into the pressure cooker.  As an adult I have never used a pressure cooker, and as a child we were not allowed in the kitchen while it was being used.  (Fear of them exploding and burning the flesh from your body was a fear instilled from the older generation. Yes, I am aware that the newer models are much safer now.) These women taught me all of the steps, steps to be carefully followed out of the fear of a horrible death if not done properly, AKA Botulism.

So, imagine my surprise to find that this is not the method used here in Germany.  I was taught to use Ball Mason jars with a two part lid.  Here in Germany, a twist on lid is used.  I panicked, afraid my precious tomatoes would end up killing us all if I switched my method.  After listening to my panicked concerns, Dirk ended up spending way too much money, and had 12 Ball Mason jars shipped to the house.  He understands me, and may have been a bit afraid that my food would poison him too.

So, I am happy to report that we now have 4 jars of homemade spaghetti sauce canned, 5 jars of stewed tomatoes, and for an added bonus, 3 jars of homemade apple pie mix all preserved for the coming year.  I may have also ordered 16 more pint sized jars from the UK so that I can preserve some apple sauce.  (Last year our apple tree had a total of 6 apples on it.  This year, the tree may actually fall down from the weight of so many apples!)

How cute are those little carrots??!

Anyone else spending their late summer days canning their harvest?  I would love to hear about it, please share your canning stories in the comment section!

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6 thoughts on “Life in Germany-Late Summer Edition

  1. I’ve never canned anything in my life. I think the love of that starts at a young age when you learn from your mother/grandmother. My family weren’t canners so I’ve never felt the desire. It seems like a lot of work!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so impressed with your harvest and canning! We never get enough of one thing to can. However, I do need to make pesto from our huge basil plants before it all goes to seed! Can’t believe it’s been 5 years for you in Germany. I think we must have started our blogs right about the same time!

    Liked by 1 person

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