Hello My Imaginary Friends,
When my Mom decided to do something, she threw herself into it with recklessness and hyper-fixation. She never neglected what she had to do, but everything else went away for a little while.
This meant giant cleaning sprees, massive meals, epic videogame marathons, and obscene amounts of canning. Every couple of years, she’d go into full canning mode and make jams, fruit butters, pickles, and picked beets. One year, she made a crab-apple and rose-hip butter that was one step away from the consistency and sweetness of solid honey. She and I have never been able to recreate whatever accident caused the deliciousness.
The smells were fantastic, the tastes were usually good, and the frantic energy was exhilarating. I threw out the last can of pickled beets last year after it had been in one cupboard or another for nearly twenty years.
I have a wonderful memory of peeling beets in the sink of my childhood home. ABBA was playing loudly on her old boombox, the smell of vinegar and pickling spices filled the air, and my hands were purple/red from the beets. One little squeeze and the beet would whoosh out into the sink; a satisfying and squishy sensation.
At some point last year, we were gifted or bought a jar of peach jam. I started making home made rolls for snacks instead of English muffins and we started devouring the jam. When we finished it, we had no farmers markets, church bazaars, or friends gifting jam; so I decided to give in and make some.
I bought all the supplies and decided I’d do just the jam. Then I thought of making salsa. So I made peach jam (which is delicious) and peach salsa (also delicious). It was a frantic 4 hours of trying to figure out what the heck I was doing. The peaches froze in our fridge so blanching caused some swearing, but overall it went well.
A lot of my Mom is in me. I feel the same hyper-fixation with many things. I try to use it when it’s helpful and tame it when it’s not, but it’s always a struggle. Probably why I hadn’t started canning until now. I’ve already thought of a dozen recipes I can make and I’m going to try and limit myself to one per week maximum.
Canning was fun, but made me sad. I wish my Mom was here to sit on a chair in the kitchen and order me around. Maybe that’s the real reason I waited so long; it didn’t feel right to do it without her.
Be kind and be safe,