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I Think I Can, I Think I Can

Submitted by: mamajoseph on September 13, 2012
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I Think I Can, I Think I Can

Like many of you, I live in a rural area. My version of rural just happens to be in the middle of tribal Africa. And even though I am thousands of miles away from most of you, I find we have a lot of things in common. Like you, I …




Like many of you, I live in a rural area. My version of rural just happens to be in the middle of tribal Africa. And even though I am thousands of miles away from most of you, I find we have a lot of things in common. Like you, I prefer to serve my family food that is as pure and natural as possible.

When we moved to Kenya in 2002, I learned there were a lot of things that we loved to eat that I couldn’t find here. I began learning how to make them. Over the years, I honed my cooking and baking skills. I loved the idea of becoming more self-sufficient. When we were gifted with dairy animals a few years back, I decided I may as well learn to make cheese. I read about it for a long time, but when Suzanne began her New England Cheesemaking challenge, I was definitely inspired and encouraged. Here was a real live person like me and she was making cheese. I figured if she could do it, so could I.

I’m still learning, but now instead of having to bring cheese from the city, eight hours away, I can make my own. I’ve made lots of soft cheeses and no longer buy mozzarella, but I’m still waiting on my wine fridge to arrive so I can begin aging hard cheese.

Since our grocery store is SO far away and canned goods can be a little pricey, the next step is canning. In our crate (where the wine fridge is hibernating), I’ve stashed tons of jars and other canning supplies. You can’t buy them here at all. I imagine our big wooden box is probably still sitting in a freight warehouse in Texas, but as soon as it makes that ocean voyage from there to here, I’m ready. Make that one ocean voyage, two overland trips, and a customs inspection.

Meanwhile, I found a case of jars in storage left by previous occupants. So today, instead of making applesauce and freezing it, I canned it. Hooray! I’ve made applesauce tons of times. It’s another of those things you can’t buy here. And while there is plenty of fruit in the city, we don’t get much of it in our town. Partly because the eight hour drive is over bad roads, and partly because the Samburu people don’t eat fruit. Kikuyu do, so they bring it in and sell it in their shops.

I digress. The point is, today I canned applesauce which is one more step towards my goal of learning to put up my own food. I’m pretty psyched about having a pantry full of beans, soups and sauces that I’ve canned myself. Why? Because home canning is the original fast food. Because mealtime sometimes comes around when I’m just too pooped to pop. And just because I like to say, I did it myself. What about you? Do you can? You could!


Kenya Cook blogs at Samburu of Kenya.

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14 comments | RSS feed for comments of this post

  1. 9-13

    Congratulations on the cheesemaking – I have not attempted that (yet). And I hope your crate makes it to you safely and soon! Great job on the applesauce and great post!


  2. 9-13

    Great post! I hope you have a great canning season and that your crate arrives soon.

  3. 9-13

    Well done, You! Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. 9-13

    That is so inspiring to read your post. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live so far from all the conveniences that we take for granted every day. I wish you the best of luck on filling your canning shelves with all the wonderful foods you love!

  5. 9-13

    Best wishes on your canning forays. They will surely bring you confidence as time goes by.
    On another tac—are you any where near Mamajoseph, another CITR member? She’s in Maralal, Kenya, (near the Maralal National Sanctuary). It sounds like she has a small farm and a few farm animals. She cnas and makes cheese as well.

  6. 9-13

    Enjoyed the post! And…I’d say you’re REAL CLOSE to mama joseph (!) 😀

  7. 9-14

    Well done on encouraging yourself to get your canning done. I have yet to learn how to can. I’ve read many posts about canning and I’ve even read through some books regarding the how-to process, but I just haven’t done it yet. Your post rekindled my interest in wanting to can. I’ll hopefully get myself to doing it soon sometime this Fall. Congrats & Best Wishes!

  8. 9-14

    Bonita, I am that mamajoseph! Thanks for the kind comments everyone. It’s great to be part of such a wonderful community where folks encourage one another and help each other learn and DO!

  9. 9-15

    I can, I cook, I make cheese, I congratulate you on your many successes. How great for you to do those things. I started making my cheese without anything but an instruction sheet. I make all kinds of cheese and it is ALL Suzanne’s fault also. Isn’t she a wonder?! I also give cheese making classes and everyone seems to really love it. You could teach others also.
    When DH and I met over 6 years ago, he had a small parcel of land and cows. When we married I told him if we had land we would be self sufficient and we are for the most part only now the land is growing as our holdings have grown as in the herd and flock. More cattle and fowl.

  10. 9-15

    Yes I do can, I am retired now but I have been canning for many years since in my early 20s when I left home. I am now canning wild mushrooms that we harvest from our woods here. good for you to learn how. Kathy

  11. 9-16

    What an interesting post!! More power to you.

  12. 9-16

    Yeah, hurray! Congrats on the applesauce. You will sooooo enjoy having things on a shelf instead of in the freezer.

    Next thing, you will be dehydrating stuff to save even MORE space!

  13. 9-17

    Yay for you! I’ve been wanting to learn how to can for forever, but never quite had the nerve. I had pretty much given up on doing it this year when I happened to get a good deal on 20 lbs. of gorgeous tomatoes yesterday. I was nervous, but I dove in and canned my first 4 pints last night! Now I suspect I probably have the bug–I did 4 pints of peaches today, 8 1/2 pints of bruschetta topping, and I have 4 more pints of tomatoes in the canner now! Orange marmalade is next!

  14. 9-17

    Ooowee, Pete, you’re so right. Dehydrator is in the crate. STH, that’s a whopping way to dive in. Congratulations.

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