Canning Comfort

I just went through this time of year again. This year 247 lbs. of Bing cherries + 3 cases of red wine yielded 129 quarts of love in a jar that filled the entire cupboard.  I’ll share throughout the coming year with my restaurant guests and friends. The grief hasn’t grown any smaller four years later, but my life has grown larger around it. (If you’re curious about “what grief?”, take a look at my very first post. Thank you for reading.)

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Writes With Pencils

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I stock the old pine cupboard with rows of mason jars
full of plump bing cherries
from this year’s record crop,
each one hand-plucked and pitted
and steeped in sweet red wine.

Five pounds at a time, I first wash,
then pluck, pluck, pluck
the stems from their belly buttons
fully ripe, their cords had let go of their mother’s arms
into the farmer’s hands,
then from the pile I
pick, squeeze, pit—
each stone hits the bowl
with a joyous ping.

I stock the old pine cupboard with rows of mason jars
forty-one quarts so far,
the result of ninety pounds of pitted fruit
and a generous case of wine.

Next to them rests a single jar
of old fashioned strawberry jam
the only one left from last year’s harvest,
back when cooking and canning
was simply done
to capture and preserve
summer’s sweetness at its peak,
before it…

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