For those of you who follow my blog (and bless you for hanging in there during my long, long winter of discombobulation) or know me personally, you will know that summer & I are not the best of friends.
I do not like being hot. I never have. My mother used to say that I kicked off my blankets at three weeks and, as a summer baby who doesn’t like being hot, I always believed her! There are two good things about summer: going to the cottage and lots & lots & lots of fresh, local fruits and veg.
These are two very good things indeed, so unless sweat is actually rolling off my forehead and stinging my eyes, I try very hard not to complain too much when the temperature rises above 26/78 degrees. Seriously. Hotter than that and I do have a tendency to slide into Miss Cranky Pants mode.
Until I get out the canning pot.
and I go to the market and buy berries
which is not to say that I’m no longer hot. In fact, standing in front of a hot stove, over a hot canning pot, stirring berries and sugar and lemon for quite a few minutes, I am quite hot. But I’m also deep into a fantasy about a mid-December morning and looking out at a grey, cold, damp start to the day, thinking what can I do to brighten things up a little?? And then it comes to me: Fresh popovers and homemade strawberry jam!!
Making jams and jellies, canning fruit, processing tomatoes, making chutneys and relishes… this all about capturing the fleeting goodness of our summer weeks (not even months!!) and keeping them close to us in some fashion. I can’t do much about capturing the beach to help get us through a long, dark, cold winter (other than a trip to Indian Rocks, maybe) but this, this good food from our neighbourhood and from my hands, this I can do.
So this week there will be strawberry jams — at least two kinds — and blueberry jams — at least two kinds — and I’m thinking about making some raspberry-lemonade concentrate. Found a great recipe for this stuff that you freeze and then pull out when you need a little sunshine… with or without vodka!!
And I’m seriously considering making brandied cherries when the local cherries pop up. What do you think?
Mmmm. Summer goodness.