Traditional spring cleaning has gone the way of cursive writing, it seems. As we rediscovered how wonderful canning really is through this past winter, with lovely tastes of summer and early autumn from 2015, it’s time to take a second look at the Spring Cleaning rituals and apply them to our cupboards and pantries.
Mom always turns the cans and jars from the previous year upside down. I never really understood why, but we had a conversation about that just last night, because I wondered what the reasoning was (finally, at age 44). She was happy to share with me that there were some valid reasons for it:
- Anything left upside down when you first start the Spring Cleaning ritual is clearly “marked” as older and the cook/baker of the family knows immediately that it needs to be used before any of the cans or jars with labels and lids still upright.
- Veggies and fruits are often in water or syrups. During the canning process, some of the contents aren’t covered all the way. Turning the can/jar over gives those items a chance to soak up the juices again.
- During the Spring Cleaning process, Mom pulls out the products that are upside down and designs the menus around what needs to be used up first. She does this with the refrigerator and freezer items, too, but it’s not quite as obvious to the people who just choose to stay out of the way of the Cook. First in, first out.
- The necessity of using up the older stock reminds you of great dishes you bought those canned goods for in the first place, like whipped cream on your apricots or peaches. Yummmmy. Or you could just open a can and eat those delights with a little cottage cheese for breakfast.
- You take stock of what you have, how old it is, and pushes you to use up the older products to make way for your 2016 order!
Mom had great reasons for what I always viewed as peculiar “busy work” she always did in the spring.
I get it now.
I feel a little foolish for not reasoning that out on my own.