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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In a Jam

PLEASE NOTE: I am running my first-ever contest. To learn more, click on the little blue "Contest" tag at right. Welcome!

Part of loving summer fruits is lovingly preserving them. I'm all about the preserves!

If there is a kind of jelly, jam, relish, salsa or chutney I haven't tried, I guarantee it appears on my "soon to be tried" list. So far this season I have made strawberry and blackberry jams (not too original, I'll admit). As I write, I have plums juicing for my favorite plum jelly recipe. Elderberries and blackberries are ripening in the park as I write and I just got a great new recipe for tomato jam, which is surprisingly delicious.

Last year's tomato-chili salsa made enough to last through the coming year, so I may not make it again this time around, but I'm definitely planning to try the spicy tomato chutney recipe I just found, and my one remaining son who lives locally is campaigning for an onion-garlic chutney that sounds yummy, so I may give it a try as well.

Jalapeno Jelly always sounded to me like a joke until I tried it recently, so I dug up a recipe on the Internet and will soon add a batch or two of that to my store.

Having home-bottled preserves of various flavors waiting in the cupboard makes me feel provident and the fact that my family will still be able to eat even if I don't do the canning means I can think of it as a hobby -- unlike my grandmother who worked over a wood stove in a home without electricity or running water, and who aimed to "put up" 1,000 quarts of fruits and vegetables every year, knowing that might be all she had to feed her children "of a winter."

Not only that, but home-canned preserves make beautiful "gems" of gifts when December comes.

I love the creativity and resourcefulness that comes with canning, resent only slightly the time it takes from writing, and hope I can get even better at it over time.

What makes you feel creative, resourceful, provident? Share?

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