Ruth Krause is thankful for air conditioning.
It gives relief from the humidity when canning, says the Tintah woman, who has canned and frozen vegetables and fruits for roughly 40 years.
She uses the pressure cooker method throughout her canning season, which starts in August with dill and beet pickles. Ruth moves to cherries, peaches and pears as the months progress. Sauerkraut, tomato juice and other vegetables are also preserved till the end of garden’s harvest in late fall.
Ruth Krause, of Tintah, has been canning around 40 years, but admits she was a novice when she married her farmer-husband Bob in 1966. Through phone calls to her mother-in-law and Bob’s aunt, Ruth learned the art of food preservation. Bob joined Ruth in canning their garden’s bounty seven years ago, and together, they plant, nurture and harvest the produce which they can and freeze.
Ruth is among the many knowledgeable canners who prepare foods for use throughout the winter and beyond, but she was quite a novice when she started in the 1970s.
She was born in Chicago, lived in Arizona until she was 14, then moved with her family to Wolverton. She describes herself as a city girl who knew nothing about farm life. Then this graduate of Josef’s School of Hair Design met her husband, Bob, on a blind date.
The rest is history. The two married in 1966 and moved to the Krause farm.
“It was a real challenge,” Ruth said. “(living on a farm) was very different for me.”
Bob focused on the livestock and crops. He had milk cows, beef and pigs, and Ruth took care of the home and, together, the two took over the garden. But she had no idea how to preserve the garden’s bounty. That’s when she asked her mother-in-law, Hilda, and Bob’s aunt, Hattie Meyer, for help.
Many of the instructions came via phone calls, she said. As Ruth became more confident in her abilities, she added to her canning recipes using ones from the Extension office, newspapers and recipe books.
The size of the garden grew as their family grew. They are the proud parents of one daughter and three sons.
“We had four kids, and they ate a lot,” She said. “My neighbor had girls, and when they married, she told me she now knew what I had experienced in feeding our guys.”
Ruth even canned meats. The method was one touted by her mother-in-law, and it was tasty, she said. The canned stew meat was great over potatoes or toast. She doesn’t can meats anymore since the children grew up and left home.
She has help in the kitchen these days. Bob joined Ruth’s canning venture when he retired from farming seven years ago.
He handles much of the garden preparations.
“Bob likes everything so straight,” she said with a smile.
Together they pick the produce and prepare vegetables for the preserving process.
They can as they harvest except for Sundays.
“That’s the Lord’s day,” Ruth said. “We might pick vegetables on Sundays, but we don’t can.”
The couple takes it one day at a time, she said. The credit for their bounty goes to the Lord.
“He blesses us as we do it,” Ruth added.
The process is sometimes relaxing and sometimes hectic to get it all done. Some items are moved out of the kitchen to make room for canning supplies.
Each season’s success can be seen in the number of completed jars filled with vegetables and fruits stored in their farmhouse basement and frozen vegetables bagged and stacked in their freezer.
But it wouldn’t be possible without Bob. He is an integral part of the operation, she said. Besides tending the garden and canning for themselves, the couple, since Bob’s retirement, takes some of their produce and canning to farmers markets.
Their grandchildren are also helping. Ruth enjoys watching the young ones pick cucumbers that will become dill pickles.
The couple’s children didn’t show an interest in canning while growing up in the Krause home, Ruth said. But they’re starting their own canning ventures now. Their daughter, who lives in Texas, cans salsa.
“She didn’t learn how to do it from me, unless she got some tips while watching me,” Ruth said.
Two years ago, one of their sons asked how to can pears. Now he is canning at his home.
But it’s always a special treat when Ruth and Bob give family a jar of pickles or relish for Christmas. Not only is it tasty and flavor filled, the receiver knows each jar has been prepared with care and love.