Saturday, August 3, 2013

Storing the Harvest: Part 1

I settled onto my knees in the sun-warmed ground, and took in the brambled rows around me.  The wind played in my hair and tugged at my shirt, but did little to cool .  I picked up a long branch, peeked underneath its spiky leaves, and smiled.  This wouldn't take long at all.

For about an hour I peeked under leaves, between stems and through brambles, taking the tiny ruby gems from where they were hanging.  For that hour, I was rewarded for my efforts (and occasional scratches); four heaping pints of red raspberries, freshly picked and incredibly fragrant.

I tucked my beauties into the car, settled safely for travel.  We hurried home, where I double-checked my recipes, washed my new treasure and started to work.

Six, or maybe seven, just in case, freshly boiled jars - those that are cut to sparkle and dazzle, showing off the beauty of the prize stored within.  Six full cups of the washed then drained sun-rubies, along with six cups of the ever-familiar granulated sugar.  All mashed together into a fragrant mixture of fruit and sunshine.

For yet another hour, I boiled, stirred, added and mashed until I got just what I desired.  Sweet perfection.

Carefully, my concoction went into those jars, then they all took a quick boiling water bath.  After the bath, I lined up my prize on the counter to cool, and savor every tiny "ping" that signals a can well-made.  Once the evening is done, they are cool enough to label and enjoy.  And I have summer red, stored in jars.

What a sweet afternoon it's been.

Note: I wrote and cooked this last year (if you can read the date on the jars, you can see that!), but I never got around to getting anything done in the past year. :(  Maybe I'll do better, but maybe when school starts again, I'll fall off the face of the planet again. Who knows?

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