My infatuation with canning and preserving led me to many impulse purchases at the farmers market. Before I became a jam maker, I had plenty of self control even when I stood in front of a whole table loaded with perfectly ripe fruit. Common sense only allowed me to purchase as much as I could consume before the fruit go past their prime. Alas, knowledge of preserving opened a flood gate. In the last two years, I often found myself stress out over another batch of jam that absolutely must be cooked tonight. My pantry was an embarrassment of riches.
Some time last winter, I suddenly came to my senses and realized my wasteful ways. Obviously the food was not wasted, per se. The jam, jelly, sauce, and butter were heartily enjoyed in frigid winter days when summer was but a memory. But the truth is, between Little Brother and I, we have no reason to eat over three dozen jars of preserves. Many of my jars went to friends and it made me very happy to see that they loved what I made. However, the ugly truth is this is a form of hoarding.
This summer I try hard to limit my preserving to a few treasured selections. Vanilla apricot, balsamic strawberry, raspberry rose, wild blueberry maple, and coronation grape jelly all made the cut. Unless I come across the elusive Damson plums, there will be no plum jam from 2012 season. Apple and pear crop took a hard hit this year with April frost so I don’t expect to make a spendy batch of fruit butter.
If you’re keeping count, you are absolutely correct that this is still a ridiculous amount of preserves for such a small household. Some are destined as gifts while others would be used in baking recipes. I’m looking forward to attend a few preserve swaps in September. Trading my sweets for some more savoury selection would be a great way to diversity my larder.
Do you know of any preserve swaps in Toronto? Which one do you plan on attending?