Way Back In the Middle Of

Pete pours the first round of what's probably the last batch of the season's tomato sauce. Next stop on our mad spree: apples.

Pete pours the first round of what’s probably the last batch of the season’s tomato sauce. Next stop on our mad spree: apples.

East End Boys And West End Girls

Heirloom tomatoes roasted with olive oil and salt on the left; roasted red tomatoes with olive oil and salt. We jar whole tomatoes from organic farm girls who humor me about my unusual art supplies.

Heirloom tomatoes roasted with olive oil and salt on the left; roasted red tomatoes with olive oil and salt. We jar whole tomatoes from organic farm girls who humor me about my unusual art supplies.

Six years ago, I started thinking about food preservation as a way to test whether my brain would let me learn again after the whole wacky memory loss episode. Congratulations to me! If I really work at it, I can absorb new things. I wanted to try jarring as many different kinds of things as I could to learn as much as I could about what I was doing. The upside of that plan was that invested time, money and effort paid off in some beautiful jars and exciting meals. The downside was that, since I don’t usually cook our dinners, the food in jars ages in the pantry, often beyond what might be safe to eat.

This year, I’m much stronger than I have been since food school started. Today, we went on a 12 mile bike ride on gravel at a good clip two months after Pete’s knee surgery. Afterward, I needed a glass of wine and a nap, but it was completely great and we’re planning more challenging rides. This of course takes time.

This year, I’m thinking about narrowing my focus – STOP LAUGHING! I have focus! – to tomatoes, beets, apples, peaches, raspberries. I would like to find time to get red peppers into jars whole and as red pepper spread, which I love all winter, but if not, I’m going to try not to be heartbreaky about it. I’m finished with beets. We almost can’t get enough tomatoes and tomato sauce into jars, but we’re pushing that rock uphill. I’m excited about moving into fruit soon.

Anyhoo, this is all very promising. We’re on bicycles and out of the kitchen! We’re in the kitchen and on the prowl. I do hear blueberries calling my name…

Whole red beets are both beautiful and slightly spooky.

Whole red beets are both beautiful and slightly spooky.