October 25, 2011
I've finally finished my canning projects for this year's growing season. The nights have gotten much colder and it won't be long before the days stay cold, too. I won't have a woodstove to huddle near this winter, but there is a lot of warmth stored in all of these jars. This week is my last working at the farm and I keep thinking to myself, Wasn't it just hot and sunny August? Wasn't I just picking pounds and pounds of beans? Then I remember the frost that came in early September, the shorter days, bringing in all the squash, digging the last of the potatoes, picking all the peppers before they froze. The months fly by every year, but I am glad to have been part of this growing season. My memory of the days is blurred, but being out in the field let me measure the passage of time by the growth of leaves and fruit and the tilting of our hemisphere toward and away from the sun.
I have mentioned before that my canning and preserving was also a blur, but the filling of jars was another way to mark summer's fruition. We have already emptied a few, even though I tend to want to make these stores last as long as possible. This year, with an abundance of full jars I am determined to let go of this miserly tendency. I stored up all this food so we could continue enjoying the abundance of summer and I resolve to eat and share it as often as possible.
As I was rearranging the cupboards last week, I had to laugh at myself. All this food stored up, when I live a block from a food co-op, generally just cook for the two of us, and know that Ray would rather eat out for every meal than rely solely on our full homemade pantry. But whether or not we get totally snowed in all winter, we'll eat well and I'll enjoy knowing that so much of my labor has gone into feeding us.
Last year I posted a list of what I had preserved and it was very useful for me to look back at, so I figured I would do it again. Aside from all the tomatoes, my canning seems to be fruit preserves and jam heavy. Fortunately I also filled the freezer with vegetables and some fruit. I also brought home 20 (plus) pounds of winter squash, 20 pounds of potatoes and lots of onions and garlic from the farm. And I canned: 15 quarts whole tomatoes, 21 pints salsa, 9 pints dilly beans, 2 pints pickled beets, 3 pints beet chutney, 2 pints Asian plum sauce, 3 half pints plum jam, 5 half pints tomato jam, 5 pints pears, 4 half pints raspberry preserves, 4 half pints raspberry jam, 4 half pints rhubarb jam, 5 half pints apricot rosemary jam, 8 half pints peach butter, 4 half pints cherry and black pepper preserves, and finally 5 quarts of apple sauce.