Monday, September 21, 2015

Winter is...

...almost upon us and as usual I've spent the last few days in a funk as the mercury drops below 55°. This time of year is gorgeous and I love the cool nights and warm days, changing leaves and the smells of drying grass and tannic leaves in rain puddles and sharp ozone before a storm. I also dread the coming chill and darkness, the four to six months of paralyzing cold when I won't see the sun at all some days, when the house's drafts make themselves known again, my hands and feet freeze, and I don't want to get out of bed let alone get anything useful done. The kitchen is drafty and washing dishes becomes a battle between the hottest water you can stand and the chill air sucking the heat right out and leaving a sink full of lukewarm suds. I hate lukewarm anything, but especially lukewarm dishwater. At that point you might as well just wash everything in cold.

Anyway, my point is that this time of year I start to reflect on what I have (or haven't) accomplished over the last 9 months. The list always comes up far short of what I hoped to have done by now, and I'm beginning to think it always will, but this year I had a resounding success. Just one.

Black currant jam.

Not only is it delicious on toast and bagels and pb&j sandwiches, it's the first thing I've ever made from my own garden that hasn't languished at the back of the fridge acquiring new forms of life before I gave up on it. I, grandmistress of procrastination and couch-weight extraordinaire, managed to not only harvest two pounds of currants from the bush before they went bad (a task I haven't completed with the mulberry tree in years), but store them in the fridge for only a reasonable amount of time (no mold! No shriveled berries!), settle on a recipe, successfully make it (no thin, watery sauce or overcooked rubber!), store it, and eat an entire jar of it in two months. I hereby declare the black currant bush the best plant in my garden this year. The tomatoes didn't stand a chance.

I'm feeling pretty good about that jam. Doubly so because I just enjoyed the last of the jar for breakfast. I have another jar, heat-packed but not canned, which I am hoping will keep long enough for me to crack it open in December and enjoy it. That will feel like a real success, both for my preserve-making and my fight against seasonal depression.

Here's to success!