Sweet Peaches and Spicy Beans

by Lisa Donovan

Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend the day learning how to can vegetables and fruit with a chef-friend of mine.  We started our day picking the freshest fruits and veggies we could find at the farmer’s market and then went to my house to begin the labor-intensive yet wonderfully fun task of canning.  We made some glorious peach and basil preserves and several cans of garlic/chili pepper pickled green beans (can’t wait to use them on a bloody mary!).

Canning is not something I ever thought I would want to learn - I had always just looked at home canned foods as a mysterious occurance that I would never be capable of.  Yet, yesterday, there I was water-bathing and sanitizing jars as if I had been doing it for years.  There is always something very gratifying about doing things by scratch.  It reminded me of my lifelong affection with bread baking.  It is theraputic and meditative and as close to something historically/genetically wired within us as you can get.  The feeling I get when creating food, whole food that has to be tended to and worked on to be edible, is very similar to the feeling I got nursing my children.  It feels right.  It feels like a very natural thing for me, as a woman, to do. 

And it is just plain fun for me.  There are very few things I enjoy as much as cooking. Canning is a very different variation on cooking, though.  It constantly makes you think of a different time.  It made me think of my grandmother, even though I am pretty certain she may have never canned in her life.  How different things used to be in our world.  How different we are now.  How we do things like can fruits and vegetables now, not for survival, but for a connection and a link to our past and our family that we might have never known.  It was one of the most symbolic cooking experiences I have ever had - even more-so than baking bread…  What occured to me was that our history as women is quite interlinked with our relationship with food and the history of food in itself.  That’s a whole ‘nother article though.  If you have never tried canning, I highly recommend it.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 at 10:27 am and is filed under Cooking, Healthy Living. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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