Yesterday I harvested tomatoes — a lot of tomatoes — and too many for me to eat before they spoil. So, I made tomato soup thinking I would freeze it for later. Once the soup was made and ladled into containers, I realized there wasn’t enough room left in my freezer from the fruit I’ve been picking and freezing all summer.
I decided that I would pull out my canning pot and preserve the soup in jars. Back at home after work, I prepared my kitchen for the canning process – cleaning the counters, washing jars, setting out my ladle, measuring cup, tongs, funnel, and water to boil in both the canning pot and a pot to sterilize the lids.
I don’t often think of myself as someone who pays a lot of attention to detail except when it comes to preparing food for canning. I am grateful to my mother for teaching me how to preserve food and, since she was exceptional at detail, I learned that each step of the way is important and makes the process easier.
Each summer into the fall, my favorite activity is to preserve whatever I harvest. The attention to detail makes me happy and becomes a meditation in motion for me. As I write this blog post while waiting for the full jars to process, I am aware of feeling very centered and calm like I do when I sit to meditate each evening. The detail of the canning process is so carved into my memory that each time I set about to put food by I move into a meditative state which can last for hours depending on how many jars are full and need to be processed.
I thought that this year there wouldn’t be time to do much canning. Now, I am excited to do more. I know that apples will be ripening soon which means I can prepare apple sauce and apple butter for those long winter nights when something that reminds me of summer helps to lighten the darkness. And, of course, my grandchildren love my applesauce.
I love knowing that I always have healthy food from the summer to open all year, especially when local vine or tree ripened fruits and vegetables are not available. I also love knowing that the food I’ve preserved has made me happy in the process and I do believe that happiness is in each jar when I open one months from now.