Fall is starting to arrive. I know that sounds crazy, what with all the sunshine and heat (or, in my case, thick billowy quilts of summer fog) but you know what I mean: school supplies and wooly, toast-colored clothes are sprouting up in the shops, vacations are starting to wind down, the days are growing shorter. Little hints of autumn, not quite here yet, but leaving messages to let you know it's on it's way.
This is the time of year where I take stock of my summer and freak out a little because of all the things I haven't done. One way I gage this by taking stock of my pantry. Did I capture the bounty? Will I be able to twist open a jar in the middle of winter and release the essence of summer: sweet jams, tart pickles, brilliant red splashes of tomatoes?
Sadly, this year, the answer so far is no.
With the exception of a brief paroxysm of cherries in June, my canning and preserving adventures have been dormant. I lay partial blame on the weather. Late rains and cool temperatures meant the Blenheim apricot crop was small this year and I didn't act quickly enough on the occasional, meager sightings at the FM. So no lovely 2010 apricot jam. Damn.
The lack of pickles and kraut and strawberry jam, however, can only be attributed to my busyness *collapse* laziness cycles and basic disorganization. I just never got around to it and now I feel the bitter burn of regret.
But wait. It's not too late! Right? It's still stone fruit season! And the San Marzano tomatoes haven't even arrived yet (those cool temps again.) And there's still months to go until it's all about applesauce and pear butter! Plus, it seems like it's always kraut time. So despite the love letters from Fall, it is still summer and the best of canning is still ahead. Reassured, I relax a little but not too much. There's work to be done!
How are things in your pantry? Did you manage to capture yourself some sunshine and put it in a jar?
(Images: Dana Velden)