Saturday, August 23, 2008

People still do this

Last night we were eating dinner at Jilinda's (my dad said it was his turn to cook) and the woman at the table behind us said, "Oh, people just don't can anymore. And the younger people don't know how to do it."

My mom and I laughed and elbowed each other and I waited for her to turn around and say, "My daughter and I are canning this summer," but she didn't. Which was unusual for her, she generally likes horning in on other people's conversations.

But, yes, lady, people still can. People who like to eat fresh fruit and veggies during the winter, who like raspberry jam and apple pie filling NOT FROM THE STORE. If you eat commercially-canned fruit and compare it to home-canned fruit, you will think that the former is a facsimile of the real thing, like when they used to say in the future we'd all eat tiny pills that would taste like a full meal. Commercially-canned fruit is like that, only without the taste part.

This weekend we are canning peaches. My mom bought 2 flats from Hay's Produce, and the peaches are actually from Yakima, Wash. And they look and smell delicious. I am saving some out to eat plain, and with ice cream.

The best part about canning peaches is peeling peaches. Because I am the type of person who compulsively peels sunburns and blisters, and peeling peaches is quite a bit like peeling humans. (Consensual peeling only, people!)

I was thinking at the outset how neat it would be if I could get a skin off in one piece...then I actually managed to do it about half a dozen times! Like my mom said, "It's all about simple pleasures." That was about half a second after she said, "You're the MASTER," with just a smidge of patronizing tone in her voice.

[Also, if you can peaches (or other fruit), you don't need to make the syrup to pour in over the fruit. Instead: put the fruit in the jars, add the sugar, pour hot water over it all, screw on a lid and SHAKE. Syrup made in the jar. Less mess. That's a tip from my 86?-year old paternal grandma. She's canned quite a bit in her lifetime, so she should know a trick or two.]

This weekend I am on my first assignment for the newspaper! I was hired on to be the PT receptionist/production/graphic designer, but yesterday the editor, Ben, asked me if I wanted to cover an event this weekend since he doesn't work on Saturday and the other reporter, Dave, is "up to this eyeballs in alligators." Sure thing! So this evening I am going to the elementary school cafeteria/gym/multi-purpose room to see Commander John Herrington. He is currently on "a 4,000-mile bicycle ride from Cape Flattery, Wash. to Cape Canaveral, Fla., designed to encourage student participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)." His blog, Rocketrek, is here. Interesting read! In 2002, he was on the Endeavour, the sixteenth Shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station. He was the first Native American in space! Although the lighting in the cafeteria is abysmal, I hope to get a few good shots.

And tomorrow my friend is having a wedding reception at the riverfront park, so I am the photographer for that as well.

Busy weekend! Helps me not miss Keith so much, although I still do. He called @ 2:30 yesterday morning to say he was moving to a camp at a lower elevation and that was more central to more fires, meaning he will probably be staying there a while. The other cook is slated to arrive on Sunday so then Keith will get a full 8 hours off-duty. He's been going on 2-3 hour naps since he arrived! Poor guy.


brett said...

Love it. I'm hoping we'll also see some canning of cukes. When I think about it, I don't really eat canned fruit in the winter. Maybe though if I knew I had made it, maybe then, I would crave it.

I wanted to have Okra this year, but my plants all died when we were on our cross country trip. I'm on the lookout for fresh okra I can then can.

Keep on keepin' on.

evangeline said...

poor keith.
i LOVE the canning pics. i want to eat them.
i'm glad you are keepin busy, m'dearie.


stephen said...

Canning is F-U-N fun! Looks like you'll be making some peach pies this winter. I just made some pickled green beans and lemon cucumbers from the garden. And I bought a big sack of green cukes from Krugers on Sauvie Island...should be set for a while.

Recess said...

My mother is a canning NUT. Someday when I have a bit more time it is on my list of to do.