Thursday, September 3, 2015

Canning Catastrophe... Blessing in Disguise?

Today... you get a two-fer!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Amish series... to tell you a story about a canning catastrophe... to let you know that things happen no matter how seasoned a canner you are... or how sure you are of your skills.

A couple weeks ago, I went to my canning closet to get something... and the above picture is what I found!

Mr. G and I live in a pretty small house, we have no basement, no root cellar, no garage, and only one small outdoor storage shed that is not climate controlled nor cool in the least... we live in the Midlands of South Carolina and have fairly mild winters, but brutally hot, humid summers so storing food items in the shed is not an option... just so ya know! We do have three bedrooms... one we sleep in... one we have set up for crafts and hobbies... and one set up with a guest bed and storage combined... we stripped the closet in that bedroom and installed "supposedly" heavy duty plastic shelving units and we use that closet as canning storage/pantry/other food storage.

Well... the "heavy duty plastic" shelving had collapsed on one end causing an avalanche of canned goods! (those shelving units had CLAIMED to hold up to 750 pounds!)

We're not sure when the accident occurred... we don't go to the pantry every day... and we didn't hear the crash, so it could have been a few days and most likely while we weren't home.


We set about cleaning up the mess... there were, surprisingly, few broken jars (maybe a dozen or two)... but there was a lovely, smelly, sticky combination of Brunswick stew, praline syrup, and assorted relishes running down the wall and puddled up in the floor (which, of course is carpeted!!!!)

We had to use extreme care (and thick gloves) while removing the jars from the "pile" so as not to create yet another avalanche and additional breakage... so it took some time!!!

Once we got the jars picked up and set out on every available flat topped space in our house... we threw out the broken jars, removed the offending shelves, and began scrubbing the walls and carpet.

Mr. G had bought a used shop vac (for a GREAT price) when we first moved into the house so we pulled that out to clean up the worst of the liquid/stickiness/grossness... and wouldn't you know it??? The vac stopped working about 2 minutes into cleanup! He proceeded (after a barrage of French) to try to repair the vac, finally giving up (with another cascade of French... who knew the man knew so much French!?!?!?) and headed to the store to purchase a NEW shop vac.

Well... we got the mess cleaned up at last! Mr. G purchased some new shelving... metal shop shelves this time! He's always great fun when it comes to putting things like shelves together... he likes to try doing it without looking at the instructions at first (it's like a little game he plays with himself, I think)... then he has me read instructions to him while he assembles... during this step in our adventure, he generally second-guesses the words I read from the instruction sheet, stops what he's doing to read over my shoulder... and eventually we get into the swing of things and manage, as a team, to get the shelves assembled.
It's a routine we've mastered over the years.

Next step in this "re-assembling of the canning closet venture" included washing down all the jars that had come into contact with the spillage combination... we used a LOT of Dawn dishwashing liquid and vinegar and HOT water... and a couple pairs of rubber gloves! Then there was the spreading of towels over all countertops, tabletops, benches, and yes, even the spare bed... to allow the newly washed and rinsed jars of food to drain.

Then came the inspection process (this was my job entirely!)... I had to check the jars to see which, if any, had come unsealed or chipped in their tumble... and there had... MANY! So we dumped jars of food (such a waste!!!! such sadness!!!!) into buckets and hauled the contents out into the woods (so the dog wouldn't glut himself on the contents and kill himself... and so we wouldn't have to smell it... WHEW!!!! what a stink!!!!)

After that...

...more jar washing to clean up the ones we had emptied!

Then the fun part (not that this hadn't been fun!) ... putting the jars back on the new shelves...

This is where the blessing in disguise comes in (it was pretty well disguised at first, huh?)... I was able to organize all the remainder of the intact jars by type of food in them... in neat, tidy rows... I have a section for meats/main dishes, vegetables, soups, pickles and relishes, sauces, jams and jellies, dog food... and more. THIS was a satisfying part to the whole thing. At least to me! And I found some things that I had canned that I had totally forgotten about... felt like finding buried treasure! Yumminess!

Mr. G generally searches for things like a little boy does... you know... open the cabinet/fridge door and if it doesn't fall on his head he swears it's not in there. Well... I believe even HE can find whatever he is looking for in the new, improved, organized Canning Granny Canning Pantry (er, closet!)!!!

Happy Canning to All!!!!


  1. Sometimes blessings come in sticky ways.

  2. I have to admit that I got quite a chuckle out of your post...not so much the sad, messiness of the adventure but the writing style in general ;) You're quite a crack pun intended.

    Thank you for sharing your adventure and I'm glad there was a silver lining to that particular rain cloud.

  3. Well, at least your organized and you know your seals were good on the intact jars. Still, that smells must of been horrid.

  4. Glad you got it cleaned up & organized. Don't you hate it when a product doesn't work, at all, as advertised?

  5. I hate to look at that photo of the mess, so much work. So far I haven't had a disaster but I need to check all the shelves again anyway. Now you have an excuse to do more canning.

  6. Oh my goodness, all that canning work for naught. So sorry that there was such a mess and work.

  7. So sorry to hear of your loss and of the mess it created.

  8. Great story telling...I wonder if our men come from the same stock?

    1. I think ALL MEN DO 😉 it's a DNA OR gender thing😉😄

  9. I just came across your blog and realized that you live in Columbia SC. You might be interested in the Midlands Food Swap. We have a swap every 1-2 months in Irmo. You already have a pantry full of swaps!! If you want more information, check out Midlands Food Swap on FB.

  10. I had to chuckle while reading your appears that our husbands may be long lost twins! Just came across your blog wondering the best way to can zucchini, summer squash and winter squash. Love your blog!

  11. I had to chuckle while reading your appears that our husbands may be long lost twins! Just came across your blog wondering the best way to can zucchini, summer squash and winter squash. Love your blog!

  12. Granny, all I can say is ..... bwahahahahahaha omg it sounds exactly like my husband and myself - question just how many jars do you have? Just curious, ok nosy... and do you have a recipe for Posole - it's Mexican pork stew with hominy. thank you so much.

    1. I probably have only about 200-300 jars maybe? Not as many as some folks for sure. And no, I'm sorry, I don't have a recipe for Posole. Have a great day! ~~Granny

  13. Thank you! Your Mr. G is JUST like my Mr. J ha ha. I broke 3 cases of my prized Italian Sauce because my "canning" shelves also collect other stuff that is non canning....needless to say I am still in the process of organizing lol I'm currently taping the names of stuff on the shelves (I want to paint the front board with chalkboard paint but get distracted when folks bring more stuff to can) someday I will get it done! I'm tenacious even if it takes me years ha ha. Love your stories! Love to read your blogg while waiting on my scanners to come off .... I do have a great recipe for Pasole but will only post with Grannies permission....

    1. Please share! And thank you for your kind words! ~~Granny


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