Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Preserving Spirituality

By Michelle Dority Kroll

You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them. Genesis 6:21

Time for more of crafting as a spiritual practice. This time we will explore the craft of food preservation. Food preservation is another practice that has been passed down through the generations. I most definitely got the knack of it from my mother. She and I would often seek out the berries of the season and make them into jam. For most people, picking berries is worse than having to pick the seeds out of your teeth! For us, picking berries is meditative. (We had an opportunity to experience this together again recently.) We can and have picked berries for hours until our fingers were stained that bluey-purple-ish red that can only be achieved by berry picking. The most recent time it ended up with about 2.5 pounds of blueberries. Blueberries are small folks, that was a lot of picking! There is only one thing to do with that many berries…JAM! These in particular were made into a Spiced Blueberry Jam and Blue Blue Strawberry Jam (2 parts blueberry and one part strawberry). Both superbly delicious!

Since then, this wonderfully meditative preserving has turned into six batches of jam and a large batch of pickled goodies (beans, cukes and garlic). One of the best things about the items being preserved is that they are wonderful treasures to share with family and friends.

To me, each jar is like a handmade gem. I loved to mix and match flavors. To create something new and exciting, that you won’t find on the grocery store shelf. I love the process of stirring and seeing it transform into its own gem. Some “gems” are purple, some are pinkish-red, some are orangey-red. To me it is the equivalent to having jars of amethyst and rubies in my pantry. Better still because I made them. Each made them with the wonderful fruits of the season. And what a blessing that we can live in an area so abundant with this goodness!

Some years ago now, I signed up for the Master Food Preserving program. Should any of you have questions about canning, feel free to leave a comment, I’ll do my best to answer them. Happy canning!

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