Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer Inspiration

Summer has been a bit late coming to our neck of the woods. Normally we tuck away the coats and scarves in late April, but this year summer didn’t arrive until the first official day of summer. We are just now starting to warm up, sleeping with the doors and windows open, shunning long pants, and praising the glorious sunshine and warmth.

Summer is my favorite time of year. I love the warm weather, the daily golden rays warming my arthritic bones, and the bounty that the season brings with it. I always have so many more ambitions in the summer, probably because I am at my happiest.

This summer I seem to be particularly avid about produce and barbecue. In my mind’s eye, I plan on canning tomato sauce, marinara sauce, salsa, jams, applesauce, pickles (and pickled vegetables), pesto, and anything else I can get my hands on. I’ve been gathering recipes to make my own barbecue sauce and rubs. The problem is time. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time to do all I want.

I’m a very good time manager. Ask anyone who knows me and they will sing my praises in that regard. So why is it that I’m having so much trouble planning canning? Perhaps it’s because I don’t have much of a garden of my own and must rely on others. I have to seek out what I want and hope that I can find it, in the correct stage of ripeness, in a large enough quantity, and at a price that makes it affordable. Maybe it’s because I have too much on my plate already, not an unusual occurrence. Travel plans can also put a wrench in things.

Whatever the reason(s), I need to find some time. Canning is one of those things that satisfies my soul. I love the ritual of it and the end result, glistening bottles of homemade goodness lined up like soldiers waiting to be called to battle. In the middle of winter, when all is cold and dreary, I can pop open a jar of strawberry jam for my biscuits and taste a little bit of summer, putting a smile on my face.

So, I’m going to have to do some serious planning with my calendar. Meanwhile, I can start with the easy stuff. Last night, while Mr. B and Brilliant Daughter were in the City seeing Spamalot at the Golden Gate Theater, I made three kinds of rubs, all cocoa or coffee based. Over the next few weeks we will be testing them out on pork tenderloins, cowboy steaks, filets, and anything else Butcher Son deems appropriate. So, stay tuned.

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