What a perfect fall day for staying inside to make liters of applesauce and and juice thousands of apples. As much as I curse my liquid-wrinkled fingertips and sticky kitchen floors (I’m a sloppy fruit cutter), when we pop open the Mason jars in the depths of winter, we’ll smack our lips and fondly recall our ten-year-old tree straining under the burden of rosy apples.
Preparing food for canning is a contemplative task. Whether it’s juicing the grapes from the vines in our yard, cutting up strawberries or pressing black currants and gooseberries for jelly, there’s not much multi-tasking possible, so there’s time to think. How did those pioneer women cope with preparing for winter? Without all of our modern conveniences like juicers and crock-pots. In those days, if you didn’t grow it, catch it, kill it or preserve it, the family would go hungry. Not enough wood or cow patties dried and piled against the drafty walls of the wood cabin or sod hut? Chilblains, frostbite, lung disease, lingering decline. Empty bellies and physical discomfort were facts of life, something our over-fed ‘civilization’ should remember once in a while.
On the other hand, I’ve been thinking a lot about restructuring my novel, pruning whole chunks so that it flows more smoothly – sort of like an applesauce blending approach to composition. But it’s time for a break. I’ve dried off my hands long enough to find this engaging video about a science experiment on the topic of fairness. Who says people are smarter than animals? Now I’m off to cut some mint to juice in with the apple and lime and brighten the taste of the final product.
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