I can remember the first summer I made jam. I was rolling on the high of realizing I liked berries, and was living in Portland with my boyfriend, my best friend and her boyfriend. My relationship was on it’s way down but I was clueless. (Spoiler: They’re married now and populating.)

Anyways. Hot sugary jam everywhere, burnt fingers, totally exasperated. That was my first time. It felt like a little too much to take on.

But for some reason, I just kept doing it. A little here, a little there. A recipe I wanted to try, a bumper crop of tomatoes that needed to be dealt with.

Suddenly canning is an extension of me, just like gardening is. Maybe more so. I pick up little tricks along the way but I’ve settled down into my comfort zone. Canning is often a meditation for me. Moving through each step, maintaining the simple uniformity of fruit and headspace. I invite people into my little routines, sitting in the kitchen talking to me while I peel chop tomatoes or peel rhubarb.

The very act of making jam brings me such joy, that the joy of sharing of it with my friends and family is simply a nice coincidence.

I am embracing more opportunities to share my little jars of joy. You can find those endeavors here on Facebook.

Fun fact: Canning-goddess does not necessarily mean all-around-homesteading goddess, yet. Every winter as canning finally slows down I always turn to infusing liquors, or fermenting my own krauts. Every time, pffft. I am just not there yet. Someday. 


Totally Shameless Daydream No. 1

The ‘dream’ farm, the one I picture in my mind when I make these schemes, is a real place. That’s for sale. (I think I have mentioned it, at least once.)

This morning, I spent a little time daydreaming.

I realized, that the large, insulated, wired, heated, shop that is on the property—that part of that could be converted into a commercial kitchen. A commercial kitchen would serve my intentions to sell my own canned goods, not to mention for my friends who are cooks by trade, with dreams and schemes of their own.

At first guess, I think I would need:

  • A gas range, with at least four burners.
  • A pot filler.
  • A large gas oven—At waist height. With convection capabilities.
  • And a warming drawer. (Good for sterilizing jars!)
  • A walk-in cooler and deep freezer, preferably also walk-in.
  • A 3-partition sink. And a dishwasher.
  • A long stainless steel prep table.

The more that I think about it, the more I expect we could use this space for our long-term food storage as well. If I turned one long wall into a food-storage space, and separate it into three walk-ins: dry goods cellar, refrigerator, freezer. We could size the thirds as appropriate—I expect that the freezer would need more space (meat!), dry goods less.

I could use the space for myself, or rent it out. Most likely, I’d split some low-cost to cover utilities with whomever may need it.

And the rest of the shop would be just that, a shop available to use, to share. We could build a most-of-a-wall to separate the two, I recall the roof being somewhat high. A half-wall would be enough to provide necessary visual space and wall space, without making too much work.

Should probably build a small wine cellar there too…
Oh man…What great ideas happen when you’re just futzing around.