This has been a rather hellacious week, the sort of week that, by the time you make it to Friday, you're feeling slightly shell shocked by the whole ordeal and more than a little bit cranky.
Which is probably why I'm canning today.
Well, that and the fact that our downstairs refrigerator (aka Eric's beer fridge*) is filled with cherries and Eric keeps dropping hits that he'd like them out of there by saying coded things like, "Hey, are you canning cherries this weekend?"
(It would be so much easier to know what he was thinking if he'd just come out and say it...)
So anyway. I love to can. That's why it's a good project to take on after a crappy week. I love to see the finished jars lined up on the counter, cooling. And it's sort of therapeutic--you can't multitask when you're canning, so you have to be in the moment. (Zen!) It also makes me feel kind of connected to my grandparents, and great-grandparents, and so on and so forth. No matter how much the world has changed, THIS hasn't. (Now, where did I put my iPod?)
And I can say things like, "Not now, my darling child. I'm CANNING. Otherwise I'd totally drop what I'm doing to fulfill the demands you place on me daily."
The first bag o' cherries had enough inside for 7 quarts. Cherries are dead easy, by the way--you just wash them and pluck off the stems and boil up some sugar water. I was feeling, naturally, a bit relaxed about this whole ordeal. It's just cherries. What could go wrong?
Never let your guard down, people.
Two of my seven jars broke as I put them into the water bath. I didn't think the water was that hot, but apparently it was. Or my jars were defective. That's probably the case, right? Instead of an error on my part? So that pissed me off. I mean, they broke cleanly, so the cherries were fine and there weren't any glass shards floating around in the water or anything, so that's a plus. It's just that now my water is all sticky and the jars are going to be sticky and the whole thing is going to be sticky.
Let's recap, in case you've missed my point: STICKY.
My five jars are now cooling on the counter. Another seven are in the water bath. So far so good, but that's just because my guard is up and I'm expecting the worst, so now the worst won't happen. I'm partially through my second bag of cherries, and I have two more in Eric's beer fridge. This might be a longer day than I thought.
Also on the list: Cherry jam (that never sets so I call it "syrup") and cherry pie filling (I never make pies because crusts confuse me, but I rock the crisp, not that I'm bragging or anything, but I'm totally bragging).
*Eric's beer fridge isn't excessive or anything--he's a homebrewer. Where else is he going to store his kegs? Fun fact: His fridge is actually the very first fridge of our married life. We got it used, so it's this awesome avocado color.
Just in case you're wondering, the proper canning music happens to be anything by Linkin Park. Like DON'T STAY. Not for any particular reason, just that it's good background music. And I like when Chester screams.