31 August 2010

Can't can.

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The past several years have been a maze of home economics for me. Trial and error...left, right, dead end. Start again, cruise, breeze, then turn to the finish at the end of the year. Once again I find myself turning down an unknown path, hoping to find a way to cruise for a bit as we head into a change of season.

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For the past two years we've been able to harvest, wash, cut, cook and can our lovely little sweet-tart plums. It's been fantastic! We thought we had a family tradition going with Christmas Plum Preserves, enough for the whole family on both sides. Well, this year we hit a wall. I guess we pruned the tree at the wrong time last year so the productivity of the tree was stymied. I hear that weird buzzer sound going off in my head...the two toned one that goes, "bum-merrrrr."

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(sans plums)

Seeing the lack of flowers on our plum tree in the spring, we looked to the savory option. Pickles, okra, peppers, tomatoes. We planned the Patio Garden Experiment to hopefully yield a boat load of tomatoes, then preserve them as sauce or stewed tomatoes. Ambitious, you say? Well, last year we had cucumbers, okra and peppers coming out of our ears with friends unloading them on us, not to mention the CSA box. I was just thinking we would add to the bounty and have enough to make gifts for Christmas with no problem. I was wrong.

First, we had to opt out of the CSA plan for delivery location reasons.

Second, our tomato plants fed us, as well as our summer guests, but will not be bearing enough fruit to pull out the canning supplies.

Third, we have eaten the few generous gifts of vegetables that we've received from others' gardens, but nothing has overflowed into our pickle jars.

Ball Regular Mason Canning Jar 1 Qt., Case of 12

SO, all of that to say, I'm a bit bummed as August comes to a close. I won't be standing like a mad scientist over a hot stove with my microwave cart ready with tools for extracting colorful boiled jars of goodness, and our pantry floor will not be lined with jars of pickles or preserves waiting for the appropriate label and date.

I sigh, yet I smile.
There's always next year!