I am not a summer person. I do not do well in the heat. I do not enjoy the beach. I sunburn easily.
I am a fall person. I love the start of sweater/sweatshirt weather. I love the warm-ish days followed by cool nights snuggled under blankets. I love fall baking – I want to eat apple crisp every day. Most of all, I love apple picking (which, of course, provides me the means for that daily apple crisp)
I can’t remember not going apple picking each fall. I’m sure I missed a few years in high school when I was off being moody about everything, but I’ve made a point of going every year since I started college. I actually went twice this year, and I have a feeling I’ll make my way down to my favorite farm one more time this year. I might not pick my own for a third time, but I’ll probably grab a bag or two of seconds to finish up my canning for the season.
This summer was super busy and I did not pull out my canning equipment once. I even missed strawberry picking for the first time in probably 10 or so years. So I’m making up for it this fall. The past two Sundays have been all day canning sessions. I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes and have been slowly filling up our pantry.
There’s nothing more rewarding than a long day of canning. Sure, yesterday’s session was kind of a hot mess. I was working with all new recipes. I canned tomatoes for the first time (a total impulse buy at the farm). Halfway through the day I decided that I should also bake some cookies during the canning extravaganza. A recipe for caramel apple jam did NOT want to work. It took 3 batches of caramel to get one that was edible. I ignored the fact that the recipe recommended using a food mill to remove the peels from the cooked apples and that I did not actually own a food mill. After 15 minutes of trying to strain the cooked apples through a sieve, I said screw it and left the peels in the jam. I have no idea if that jam will be remotely tasty, but I refused to let it defeat me.
After I pulled the last jar out of the water bath, I was ready for bed. Instead, I faced a pile of dirty, sticky dishes that needed my attention. I scrubbed and cleaned and got my kitchen pretty close to normal looking before finally collapsing on the couch. But as I sat there, knees throbbing and completely exhausted, I couldn’t suppress the feeling of accomplishment that comes along with putting up your own food.
Now I just need to work on actually using up my canned goods instead of hoarding them…