Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Can.

Over the course of the last week, I made pink lemon curd, blood orange marmalade, and in progress, vin d'orange. Two of the three of these absurdly tasty items are sitting, in an incredibly self-satisfied way, on the kitchen counter or the shelf of my pantry, without any need for that clunky, energy-sucking fridge over there, thank you very much. I canned them using the boiling water method, all by myself, in my own home!

The sense of accomplishment I'm floating on is perhaps at an unhealthy level. I keep wandering into the kitchen, and carrying a jam jar out with me to turn it in the light coming in the bedroom window, or check the seal for the up-teenth time. While this new hobby is presenting a significant challenge to the goal of keeping my ego in check, it does indeed have its good points, too.

1.) It's delicious. My husband keeps eating the marmalade out of the jar. With the fridge open. With his fingers.

2.) It makes eating locally and seasonally much more do-able. Although to be fair, I'm canning citrus. It is in season; it will never be local. Local apples are next. Which aren't in season. I try.

3.)There's nothing like stirring a pot of old-fashioned jam, waiting for that magical indefinable moment of gelling to put you in a meditative frame of mind.

But it's all of these things and more: it's harkening back to something your family did generations ago that fell by the wayside with the advent of massive industrial canneries. There is a hunter-gatherer-style primitive sense of providing for your family that throwing jars into your cart at the grocery store simply doesn't get to.

Alright, alright, good for me. Where's the tie-in? What's the yoga? Well...good question. This might not be a yoga-esque activity that's available to everyone, but then, neither are circus classes.

The tie-in is this: I consistently struggle with an at-home yoga and/or meditation practice. For me to slow down every day and spend some time out of my mind and in my body takes some thinking outside the box. I've been trying to pray the rosary (it's a Catholic mala essentially) everyday in observance of Lent. My meditative focus in that case is pre-prescribed by the Church, but I'm ok with that. Buying a case of jars and leafing through the recipes available for putting up apples pretty much guarantees I'll spend a significant portion of a day soon to come standing over a hot, heavenly-smelling pot while the canner comes up to a boil beside me. My meditative focus is open to whatever the moment holds, but I have to keep my mind focused on the task at hand, so it stays contentedly quiet.

And when all is said and done, there are those pretty jars lined up on the counter, with the left-overs as a bonus waiting to be gnoshed in the fridge.

Whatever it takes, right?

Live Omily,

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