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Of all the things that were passed down to me by my parents, grandparents, and aunts one of my favorite things is the art of preserving. It’s just so useful!  But even more than being useful, when I’m in the middle of making jam or pickles or applesauce I feel a sense of connection to all who have come before me.  Whether they preserved foods to capture the bounty from their gardens or from a sense of thrift or as a way to survive the winter months, the art of preservation continues to run strong.  I know that while I’m in my kitchen working with some fruit or vegetable there’s a good chance that at the exact same time my Dad or my sister is in their kitchen doing something similar.  
I don’t do as much of it as I once did – mainly because I can’t always eat it all before the next year’s crop arrives.  But this weekend I spent a day making peach jam and a nice batch of applesauce.  Canning is like riding a bike for me.  Each year as I start my movements are a little slow but within a few minutes I’m back into the rhythm of whatever needs to be done for the job at hand.  Blanching, peeling, slicing, smashing, cooking, mixing and finally filling the jars are all part of the zen.  And I really do enter a very meditative state.  My movements flow and although I concentrate on the task at hand it’s with a flowing ease, with one step leading to the next.  The repetitive motion is addictive and soothing.  It’s a dance that can be performed by one or a group. 

And the best part is that when you are finished you have something beautiful, delicious, good for you, and that will bring back a little taste of summer in the middle of a cold winter day. 

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