I remember carefully navigating the stairs into the basement of my grandparents’ ranch house as a little girl, stealing around the corner to where my Mommom’s canned goods perched. Shelf after shelf sat filled with glass mason jars. Plump tomatoes suspended in their own juice, mysterious and organ-like in the dim basement light. Peach slices the color of sunshine. Juices in every color of the rainbow. (Actually, I’m romanticizing the part about the peaches–canned peaches are gross.)
I’ve gotten into canning (or “putting up food,” in the lingo), and I have to say it’s pretty rewarding to open up a jar of your summer bounty in the middle of February. It seems like magic that the exact same acidic bite greets me when I stick my nose in a jar of tomato sauce as when I processed it many months ago. Of course, that “magic” is the result of a half day’s labor for 7 pints of preserved tomatoes. Sure, I could buy that same amount at the supermarket for a couple of bucks, but it wouldn’t be the same.
So far this season I’ve made a couple batches of strawberry jam, and canned a batch of tomatoes.