Right after I write this post, well – really after lunch – I’m going to be in the kitchen canning. It’s that season again. I can’t even tell you why I do it. I mean beets aren’t that expensive and neither are frozen peas. But I was bit by the “putting food by” bug way back in the 70’s. We lived in New Jersey then. Our crops of tomatoes were phenomenal. They don’t (or didn’t) call it the garden state for nothing. That’s where I learned to make tomato ketchup. I’ve been hooked every since.
There’s something about having a store of food you’ve put up yourself that’s satisfying on the same level as having a safe full of jewelry or a cask of gold coins under the bed or a whole new box of crisp white envelopes in your desk. Uh – wait – scratch that last one. The office manager in me escapes every once in a while and it’s so embarrassing.
Anyway, this year I’ll have beets and green beans to put up along with pickles and any number of tomato-y things. Like Peruvian Sauce. Bet you don’t know what that is. I found it in an old Ball Blue Book of canning that I’ve had from the onset of my obsession. It’s a relish that uses tomatoes and apples. I know, I know. Yuck – right? But those blue book people wouldn’t have put it in there if it wasn’t good so I gave it a shot. There are spices and other things in the mix and the first time I made it my kitchen smelled like heaven. Oh yes it did. And the sauce is so good a recent visitor cleaned the bowl I’d put on the table for our supper. He piled the last two tablespoons onto my awesome garlic bread and wolfed it down. Made my heart glad.
I guess that’s why I do it. It happy’s up my heart to go down to the basement and see all those jars full of food beaming back at me. People who quilt, run, bird watch, whip out a camera every time they think they see Johnny Depp, or read long into the night will relate. We’re the glad-hearted ones who are out there doing it and loving life.
So, off I go. I’ll turn the radio on and listen to Rush – yes I listen to Rush, get over it – while I scrape and boil and fill those jars up with the garden. My Grandma Blaine would be so proud.
See that picture up there? It's just a foretaste of the things to come. I may need stamina prayers.