Friday, September 5, 2008

Canning the Guilt

So I'm new to this whole putting up food for the winter idea. And although I am wildly enthusiastic about the process of food preservation, the reality is not always as perfect as I imagine. Warm, fabulous smelling kitchen, the rosy glow on my cheeks as my daughters and I stir jam together, then lining up the many colored jars with our own special sticker that we created together.
Maybe other people have this experience. But let me share my first jamming experience last summer: 40 pounds of quickly rotting blueberries needing to get canned right now, even though it is 105 degrees outside, the logistics of my kitchen preventing me from getting jars in and out of my canning pot, giving into my screaming children and letting them watch Mary Poppins...twice, well, let's just say that jam was extra salty from all of my tears.
So now I only can in other people's kitchens, and I made the very important purchase of a chest freezer. When I bought this freezer, I said, I will preserve everything.
Now it is September. And I am finding that I am having trouble keeping up with my own ambitions. But I keep on reminding myself that this is a process. Like gardening, I'll get more comfortable with it every year. So I'm trying really hard not to feel guilty that I have frozen no green beans! No corn! (yet). But I do have twenty or so jars of blueberry chili jam that I made with a friend in her spacious and beautiful kitchen far away from my children. I have a few bags of frozen peaches. And as of the last two days, I have roasted and frozen 25 lbs of tomatoes, and this makes me feel a lot better.

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