Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at places and events of interest in Bulloch County history.
In many years past, people didn't buy frozen veggies at the store and then take them home to be micro-waved. They grew them in their own gardens, and then canned them at home for later use.
In Bulloch County, picking and then canning produce was a very important time of the year, just like taking the animals to market or picking the cotton.
Freezers simply were not part of the average household. Therefore, families canned everything from the meat they got from their farm animals to the peanuts they pulled from the ground.
The canning process had four stages: cleaning the produce, blanching the produce in hot water, cooling the produce down, and then sealing it in the cans.
In the May 21, 1942 edition of the Bulloch Herald, it was announced that some 125,000 cans would be available through the county's Vocational Agricultural teachers at each of the public schools for those who planned to do some canning.
The Board of Education sponsored a purchase of 100,000 No. 3 cans (which held 4 cups) and 25,000 No. 2 cans (which held 2 1/2 cups). Locals could purchase these No. 3 cans for a subsidized cost of $3.50 for 100 cans, and the No. 2 cans for a cost of $2.56.
This cost included not only the can but all of the other costs of actually cooking, canning, and sealing the fruits or vegetables in those cans at the school.
During World War II, in the May 27, 1943 edition of the Bulloch Herald, the Board of Education announced that all public schools in Bulloch County would open their home economics kitchens so that local residents could process that year's harvest in a community setting.
The county school board made major improvements to the kitchens and set up a strict schedule so that things would move more smoothly. No unprepared produce could be brought into the kitchens after 9 in the morning.
The Board of Education also enlarged the kitchens so they could process between 15-20,000 cans per day so that crops could be processed immediately. A total of 140,000 cans were recorded during the 1942 harvest, and the Board of Education expected the number to increase dramatically for the 1943 season.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at email@example.com.