About two months ago, we took Huxley to see the film Inside Out. It tells the story of 11 year-old Riley and the emotional roller coaster she experiences after her family relocates from the midwest to San Francisco. Her emotions Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust attempt to navigate her new experiences and keep things copacetic and tip-top from Headquarters, a quaint euphemism for her brain. It’s a pretty genius depiction, in my estimation, of a rather abstract concept. Every day, experience orbs are racked up in Riley’s memory, color-coordinated to their respective emotions. Ideally, the orbs are primarily those of joyful experiences.
All of which has what exactly to do with jars of jam and pickles and peaches and cherries and such, you might be wondering. Racking up experience orbs of joy, that’s what! When I’m canning, I’m happy. Like, really, really happy. I get in a groove, I feel the flow, I completely focus on the task at hand. And for a person that’s typically juggling many things (too many things!) at once, finding a groove/flow/focus trifecta is supremely satisfying. I’m quite certain that loads of joy memories are taking root when I’m canning.
That’s a good thing, considering the wealth of glorious fruits I was generously given this summer. As part of their Canbassador initiative, the Washington State Fruit Commission and Sweet Preservation sent me shipments of their lovely stone fruits, as they’ve done over the past 5 summers. I am so, so very appreciative of this bounty. First, in June, came the cherries, nearly 20 pounds of them. Huxley and I sat out on the patio in our skivvies and de-stemmed and pitted them (for every cherry stem he removed, he ate one, making him look not unlike a zombie, a very, very cute zombie, by the time the job was done). They were rendered into cherry pickles, black pepper maraschino cherries, cherry moonshine (!!!), cherry compote, and cherry butter, as well as a sweet cherry pie. Next, in July, came the peaches. Those were transformed into spiced pickled peaches, peach lavender butter, and Marisa‘s Salted Brown Sugar Peach Jam.
If you’ve never canned before, I invite you to go for it. It’s really quite easy, and, at least in my case, a bliss-inducing experience. I put up loads of other things this summer, with many more jars to go before I put the canning pot fully away for the season. If you’re looking for tips, instruction, tutorials, recipes, or just inspiration, do check out Sweet Preservation. The website is full of helpful information for the canning novice and seasoned jar bather alike. Massive thanks, WA State Fruit Commission, for another very, very appreciated shipment of your glorious stone fruits!