Tuesday, October 10, 2006

canned, sealed, stocked up

There are a dozen or more reasons that I am dreading the impending winter and I am doing everything I can to ignore the fact that it is coming: still wearing sandals, refusing to clean my winter coats, cherishing the fact that two more weeks remain of the farmer's market. But there is one reason I am happy winter is coming: I can finally stop canning.

I'm not sure what happened to me this year, but I have been preserving food like a crazy woman. As I've mentioned before, we canned all the time when I was growing up and I absolutely hated the whole endeavor. Last year, my sister and I canned a few fruit butters, and I found the experience a little more tolerable. But this year?

In addition to a variety of sauces and jams that I have stuffed into my freezer, I have canned the following:

plum amaretto jam
peach lavender jam
peach butter
raspberry jam
pickled garlic
roasted peppers
peach mint salsa
tomatillo salsa
regular old salsa
rosemary garlic jelly
asian plum sauce
plums with brandy
peaches with amaretto
nectarine preserves with basil

Whew, it's been an exhausting fall. Partly, the canning was motivated by my reading of the Omnivore's Dillema and my increasing commitment to locally grown food. Partly, I am curious about the craft. Perhaps I am nesting. It's tricky to sort out all of my reasons for canning like a maniac. It's an act of creativity, I suppose, but also a political act. It seems like a good way to expand my ability to eat locally and a good way to be frugal and self-sufficient (oh how proud my parents would be to hear me say that).

Still, I feel a little self-conscious about the whole thing. W. tells me he's going to arrange an intervention ("have you been canning again?" he asks when he comes home)and I think I might need one. I feel rather proud of my efforts, but I also feel a bit of self-loathing (so domestic, so frugal). I look forward to gobbling up all that jam in mid-winter, but I am also sure that I am going to give both me and W. a bad case of botulism. It's all very complicated.

But it's done. Despite myself, I have become a canner.


Blogger tara said...

Hmmm, a complicated psychological and political tangle ... it also all sounds delicious! I am now eyeing my store-bought jam with disappointment.

This reminds me of my weird recent embrace of needlework, after a childhood of what I believed to be forced 4-H particpation. Now I crochet, I'm learning to knit, and I even found myself wishing for a sewing machine recently. I don't know what's going on there.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Lisa B. said...

I didn't grow up canning--I learned as a young mom and my Mormon visiting teacher taught me how. I did it while my kids were small because it seemed thrifty and perhaps it was. Then, when I got a job, I definitively stopped. It seemed like an archaic craft rather than genuine housewifery. My feelings have changed again, however. I started again when my aunt had a surfeit of peaches, our grapes were bearing like a mofo, and there were also apples. It was like getting back on a bike after not riding for a long time--a little rusty, but only a little. Now, I'm trying to pick up on what's seasonal and preserve what makes sense. I don't think you need an intervention. I think it's awesome. Also, your little jars are way cute.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Amazing! How did you possibly find time to do all that? I'm curious to hear more about the two garlic concoctions. What do you serve them with?

8:04 AM  
Blogger lis said...

yeah, I'm not really sure what I'll do with the garlic concoctions. that's how ridiculous my canning is. i suppose i'll use the pickled garlic with hummus, antipasto, that sort of thing. the garlic jelly? hmm, with lamb? I just had a bunch of garlic and the two ideas seemed interesting; i forgot to think about what I would do later.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

(note, different Sarah) So, totally off topic I know, but I've meandered here via "Never trust a skinny chef". Other Sarah posted a comment about being able to find sushi grade Ahi Tuna in CO? You must share this prescious info, please?

9:42 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Hi Sarah--I have purchased some at Fish restaurant (also a fish market) in Old Town (on Oak St.?). But it's not cheap. I've heard that Wild Oats and Whole Foods also carry sushi-grade fish. Good luck!

7:46 PM  

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