A couple of weeks ago, on a free Sunday afternoon, I made peach jam. There was a time when I would have considered jam-making to be the distinct opposite of keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. Now that I discovered freezer jam though, it takes about 30 minutes, and I enjoy it.
A few days after that, I was perusing facebook, and I found a link which directed me to this link which has a super easy recipe for frozen tomato sauce. I'm all over it.
A bit after that, while I was sitting in Primary (where I was supposed to have been paying attention to a very fine sharing time lesson on how we can all be member missionaries), my Primary President informed me of the joy that is oven-roasted tomatoes. I found some directions on the internet and wow! Let's just say that life may never be the same for me again.
A few days after that (in search of more tomatoes), I called Eric's mom to see if she had any extra ('cuz I was pretty sure she would.) She did. So, the next day, Heather and I went to grandma's house to have a little harvest. We picked two laundry baskets of tomatoes, a reusable grocery bag full of plums, and another grocery bag full of apples.
I spent the next week making more roasted tomatoes, and freezer tomato sauce, and frozen diced tomatoes, and plum jam (like the cooked kind--first time for that!), and plum fruit leather, and dried apples in every spare minute that I had.
I had a 30 minute conversation with my own mother, in which I determined that it was time for me to bite the bullet and buy my first canning aparatus. After calling around and finding that there were none in town in my price range, I ordered one on-line.
It came in this week.
Sometimes, I take a good look at myself and I wonder who is this woman inside of my body, and where did regular Charlotte go? Growing up, I was the girl who wasn't a big fan of the whole canning thing (to put it mildly. I'd say that I almost hated it, but I don't want to hurt my mom's feelings). I enjoyed fall, because I loved being able to pick and eat apples off the tree, strawberries out of the garden, peas out of the pod. But, the work that was involved in getting all that food prepped and stored for our winter use? Let's just say that it's no coincidence that I'm 40 and 1/2, and just barely purchased my first canner.
So, over these past few weeks, as I've fallen into bed, exhausted and hot and sweaty from a long day/evening/few hours in the kitchen peeling, straining, chopping, and whatever-else-ing, I've been amazed at the satisfying, happy feeling that has filled my heart. It's honestly been a huge surprise to me to feel the fulfillment that doing those tasks has brought to me. I had no idea that I would enjoy it so much, or that I'd be so proud of myself for doing it.
I reminds me of a conversation that I had with my mom when I was a teenager. We were talking about laundry, and I was asking my mom why she did it for us, instead of making us do our own, as was the case with many other mothers I knew. She responded that she liked being able to do something like that, that she saw it as a manifestation of her love for us, and knew that we saw it that way as well. I (in typical obnoxious teenager fashion) snorted at that, thinking it was kind of cheesy. (My mom was not impressed, incidentally, but she continued to wash and fold my clothes until I left home, the saint.)
Now, I'm not saying that I'm going to start taking joy in laundry anytime soon. A lot will have to happen within my heart before a change of that magnitude takes place. But, as I look at those jars of jam, the containers full of dried fruit, and a freezer full of vegetable bounty, I feel that I'm getting a little glimmer of what she was talking about.
It happens that I come from a long line of home gardeners and canners, on both sides of my family (as does Eric). It may be awhile before our house/yard situation allows me to join in the gardening to any significant degree, but I'm really very pleased to finally be joining in on the preservation side of things. I've said it already in this post, but I'll say it one more time--I had no idea that it would feel this good.
Image courtesy of Chiot's Run