Monday, September 23, 2013

Sunday Ramblings...Canning

There's just something about canning. Jarring up food in the late summer and ushering in early fall. Maybe it's the cool air outside that seeps in through a partially open kitchen window. Or the steam that rolls from the hot pots on the stove. Maybe it's just the fact that you never know when these canned delights will be needed. It's almost a melody after the jars have had their hot bath and all of the lids begin to pop, pop, pop. It's homemade art that serves so much more of a purpose. The deep gold of peaches, preserved for the winter. The red in the jars of chokecherry syrup and then the marmalade and the spreads. Anticipation almost eats you up as you think of the cute Christmas baskets they'll be part of or the Sunday dinners where guests will be impressed with your home-preserved produce.
Canning is something that's always been around in my family. With my mom we've made jars filled with almost every food on the food pyramid. This wasn't just for the fun of it or even because my mom likes to can, I'm not so sure she does. It was a matter of saving food so that we'd have a full pantry during the winter. When you live a long way from town, or even if you live close to town, snow often prevents a quick trip to the grocery store. Plus, it's more affordable to preserve your own food anyway and there's something about the "no preservatives" in home preserves that always brings a smile to my face.
As I spent late nights this year canning, I had to wonder: peaches seem to be the most important thing for me to can. I can order them freshly picked and keep them that way all year. It would be a tragedy to try to refrigerate them just to allow them to rot. I put such an emphasis on food preservation but aren't there things in my life that are important to preserve as well? To keep a back stock of so that when they're not in season I can still dish them up. For me it's good to have a stock pile of smiles. They don't always come as easily as they should but so often they're a blessing to others, even when it almost hurts me to produce them. I also love to have a jar or two full of Bible verses and Biblical truths. This way when problems arise or hard circumstances pop up, I have a guide to get through them. Also on my pantry shelves are memories to make me laugh, kind words that don't always come easily, encouragement for someone who needs it and a warm hug. These preservatives are constantly being used and I could run out so it has to be a daily job of canning for me to get some extra "goods" put away. Maybe you should too, we never do know when we might need them. 

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