Every year, well into the ‘pick and pack’ season of our Central San Joaquin’s Westside, I would call my Mom. “Ma!” she immediately knew I was calling and would respond, “What?” I inquired, “How are you? Dad?” She would start in, “You know your Dad, he can’t stand to see the fruit left on the ground.” (or the vegetables left in the fields). Since the 40’s, Dad knew most of the Westside farmers. He could go into any orchard or field and pick after the harvest: apricots, plums, peaches, tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, melons and more. He was famous for 5 gallon white plastic buckets with handles and would always say to me when he delivered his pick which I too would can, “Be sure to return my buckets!” Mom would continue, “Last week your Dad and I canned tomatoes. This week he came home with…”  Mom would inventory his pick. “Even now”, she continues, “we’re canning!” I could count on it. What Mom would say when I called mid August and asked how she was? One response, “We’re still canning!”

Here is one of Mom’s tried and true yearly canning recipes for Dad’s Westside pick of the crop:
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