I’m not sure I have any talent for this jarring and canning biz, but I’m learning a lot at an ambitious pace. This weekend, I had the good fortune to have two days off work in a row, so I could plan my projects in small enough steps that I might actually take them. So: on Friday, I cleaned two healthy bunches of beets, steamed the greens and roasted the beets. On Sunday, it was simple to peel and slice the refrigerated beets. Infusing the vinegar solution takes about twenty minutes, heating the beets takes about ten and processing time is 30 minutes. In between, I was able to pursue my secret life of crime, so I felt content, looking at the beautiful jars filled with magenta beets and pickling liquid. Meanwhile, I kept staring at a pint-ish of raspberries in the fridge, going, “What the fuck am I going to do with those?” Yes, I felt smart.
Pete said something geniouser: buy some strawberries. I didn’t love the strawberries I was seeing but I was anxious to get those berries out of my damn fridge before they melted into disaster and reproach. I hadn’t found a recipe, but with Pete’s and Minstrel Boy’s help, I’d worked out the principles of constructing one. Next thing I knew, the tiny pint-ish of raspberries and the pint of strawberries became four 4 oz. jars of bright red goo. If the jars don’t pop and turn blue, I might really have learned something worth knowing.
The woman who gets us Jersey peaches informs us that only blueberries and cranberries are farmed in any real quantity in our state. Farmers grow raspberries and blackberries for themselves because it’s really difficult to protect the fruit from birds. I didn’t bother to argue about this. Farmers grow entire fruit orchards under sheer fabric and I don’t know why anyone would think that’s not common knowledge. But: she says she can’t get berries and I will take her at her word. Berry season is over in a snap, so hopefully by next summer I can find a farmer who knows how to put up a tent.