Tuesday, September 2, 2008


... and I picked one more just like it. And three quarts of raspberries. And twelve pounds of apples. By the time I headed homeward, I'd also picked up four zucchinis, two pints of cherry tomatoes, two quarts of pears, and the most enormous head of cabbage ever, at the Farmers Market. My car was packed, and it smelled like summer.

Going picking was something I wanted to initiate myself into. It's poetic. It's one of those things you do if you're possessed of a rural sensibility, a way to connect with the land. There's many beautiful posts about berry picking out in blogland: here, here, here, and here. It's also a good way to make out like a bandit, because my backseat haul probably would've cost $100 at the grocery store.

So, having never properly gone picking before, and having stepped out of the car at Apple Hills Farm, and into a view like this:

I wanted to make the most of my experience there. That wasn't difficult:
You couldn't reach into a blueberry bush without grabbing a whole handful of ripe ones. And they were absolutely the tastiest blueberries I've ever eaten. I've heard there are some crops that benefit from a light drought, since it concentrates the sugars in the fruit. I think blueberries must be among them.

The endnote to this day of reaping the bounty of central New York, is this:

This is my freezer. I ritually pull everything out and cram it back in at least once a day, desperately trying to make room for more stuff. Yesterday I added the blueberries and raspberries, a gallon of shredded cabbage, a gallon of shredded zucchini, and nearly a gallon of eggplant. I still have tomatoes to deal with, and cucumbers, and I'd really like to stock up on peaches, apples, and winter squash.

The only solution, it seems, is to start canning. And that would be where I run up against my firmly rooted anxieties, my (so far) lifelong aversion to canning. I mean, I've done the low-impact stuff: water-bath pickles, jam, and a batch of marmalade that was almost lethally bitter. But what I yearn for, in my heart of hearts, is emerald jars of green beans, golden peaches in juice, apple pie filling, preserves that taste like fruit instead of sugar.

I have a dusty, antediluvian pressure canner in my basement. Someone gave it to my mom decades ago, and she was always too chickenshit to use it, too. A few years ago she passed it on to me, where it's been lurking, always reminding me of my shortcomings. You can't call yourself a domestic goddess if you don't know how to can, silly. Come on, what are you, scared?

No one in my family has ever done this before. If I succeed, I'll be the first Plath woman to have proud pantry shelves lined with particolored mason jars. The mark of an accomplished woman, a real provider and provisioner. A true domestic goddess.


Kami said...

Kristina, I really enjoy reading your posts about your domestic goddessness, and yes, in my book you ARE a goddess! However, it makes me feel woefully inadequate! I am envious of your blueberries! Good luck with the canning :)

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