When I set off to college at the end of last summer, I was heading back to my third year of classes, the impending cold of Providence, and an apartment of my own. I would share my kitchen space with seven other girls no more. That meant no more mini-fridges. No more communal dishwashing. No more labeling of leftovers, only to see the take-out container peeking guiltily out of the malodorous trashcan upon my return to the suite later that night, a few bites of Thai clinging to styrofoam. Having a kitchen that was, while tiny, all mine, meant big things for that year. To me, it was obvious. I announced my plans to my mother as I prepared my suitcases. I was going to start preserving.
Not what she had in mind, and my declaration definitely made me the butt of some jokes. But there needed to be a way to enclose the sweetness of summer that just won’t last, and hey, Mason jars are cool these days. This college girl was going to make jellies and jams and no one could have stopped her. In fact, her mother and sisters and friends weren’t poking fun any longer once their fingers were sticky with raspberry goo. I’m going to bet that Natasha from this beautiful blog, Non-Reactive Pan, has a nicer kitchen than the tiny corner of my studio apartment, but seeing her rendition of Raspberry-Peach Jam reminded me of what is good about turning one’s kitchen into a jam-making factory. Summer is far from over, but when August begins to draw to a close, there’s a way to keep a jarful or two of warm sun and ripeness through the cold, through winter at a New England university, until summer finds its way back and you can do it again.
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