30% OFF Pride collection code: USAPRIDE! Free Shipping over $99

Preserve Your Food

by Wendy Rhein August 02, 2012

By: Wendy Rhein

Something about late July sparks the urge to preserve. Preserve time with family and friends, the slower pace of our evenings without homework, even the warmth of a late day sun. But I can’t hold those things about summer, saving them for a mid winter’s day when I step barefooted into a pile of melting slush fallen off a boot or have to rummage through a book bag at midnight looking for tomorrow’s permission slip. I can’t preserve the ease and pace of summer but I can preserve the food.

You would think that all the fruit in the world was dying out, what with my urge to create jar upon jar of cherry, peach, nectarine, and plum goodness. We’re very lucky to live near some wonderful farmer’s markets and I take full advantage of them. A well stocked farmer’s market is my Disney. I lecture my boys each Sunday morning: if you behave, and promise not to ruin my market experience by running off with the whole plate of samples or whining about when we can leave, you can have ANYTHING you ask for. I have no qualms about bribing them with organic, fresh, local produce and baked goods. Beats a bag of Doritos any day.

This week’s bounty of multi-colored plums and sweet cherries became jam on Sunday afternoon. It started like this:

Hand pitting cherries is a sensual experience, but you may want to use gloves. The juice stains make you look like you’ve been changing oil on a Harley for a few years.

I lost count of how many pitted cherries made 2 cups. About this many:

I added 6 quartered and pitted plums. Some red, some purple, some yellow. All beautiful. And then a cup of sugar. No pectin, but a 1/4c water.

Over medium heat, let the fruit come to a soft boil and stir frequently to keep the fruit from sticking and the juices moving. After the fruit starts to break down, I add a teaspoon of allspice for an earthy, exotic tang that matches the gorgeous magenta color that is developing in the pot. Let the fruit cook down as it continues to have a soft, lava-esque, globby boil, maybe 20-25 minutes. Once it sticks to the spoon, you can turn it off and let it cool slightly. Pour the contents into prepared canning jars (this is a good canning primer if you need one) and boil them to seal.

And when it is all said and done, I have this:

Time consuming, I know, but what an incredible result. There is something fulfilling about making my own food in this day and age. At a very base and basic level, knowing that I’ve captured something fresh and whole for my family to enjoy in the cold months ahead. The time in the kitchen feeds my soul, and soul-feeding time as a single mom is something that is hard to come by and often harder to justify.   I allow myself this time because I know we all benefit in the end.

Up next, peach butter!

The post Preserve Your Food appeared first on The Next Family.

Wendy Rhein
Wendy Rhein


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Parenting

Modern Fitness For the Modern Parent

by The Next Family March 25, 2016


Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian

By Laura King

Life can get busy. With work, kids, family commitments, friends, chores, and the general chaos of everyday life, it can be near impossible at times to sit down for a cup of tea, let alone squeeze in an hour of exercise regularly. However, all things are possible if you set your mind to them. Those that prioritize their fitness nearly...

Continue Reading →

Estate Planning: The Basics For LGBT Families

by The Next Family March 25, 2016

With the passage of marriage equality last year, laws have been quickly changing across the United States. LGBT couples with or without children weren’t just given the right of marriage, they were provided new protections and benefits within their families. All of a sudden, LGBT couples and families had to figure out how to file jointly when it came to taxes, how to add...

Continue Reading →

Representation of Modern Families in Kid-Friendly Entertainment

by The Next Family March 24, 2016 1 Comment


By Alex Temblador

I recently wrote an article for The Next Family called, “Family-Friendly Films That Feature Adoption and Foster Care,” that shared wonderful family films with adoption or foster care story lines. My reasoning behind doing so was because every family deserves a chance to see similar families like theirs represented in various forms of entertainment.

The same can be said of other...

Continue Reading →