A few months ago I decided to start canning... a few days ago I actually did. It's been a crazy few days in my neck of the woods. To say the people of Colorado are unaccustomed to severe, 100-year flooding would be a gross understatement. But I will say, we stepped up to the challenge. Neighbors helped neighbors, heck, I got to know my neighbors. Friends and family checked in. The stories of sheer heroism I have heard in the days following have touched my heart, brought many tears to my eyes, and most of all, made me proud to be from this incredibly beautiful (inside and out) state.
While the rain poured on outside our windows, and our quiet street turned into a raging river I had to do something. We had built a dam in our front yard, tried to dissuade drivers from driving through the three feet of water that was our road, helped neighbors as much as we could, and checked our crawl space a dozen times. It was too dangerous to go anywhere, it was time for distraction. We still had power, and I had two crates of Colorado peaches heading for a moldy demise. It was time to can.
So I grabbed my canning books, found a recipe for canning peaches that corresponded to the ingredients I had on hand, and set to work.The recipe I used called for brandy, I only had about half the required amount, so I added water and an extra 1/4 cup of sugar. After lots of slicing, syrup simmering, and jar sanitizing it was time to assemble. I packed the peaches in tight, funneled the syrup in and screwed on the lids. As I lowered the jars into the water bath I felt a little nervous. But then again, the situation outside my kitchen window brought everything into perspective. It was a luxury that we had power, and it was an even bigger luxury that we were still in our house.
After coming to a boil and simmering for fifteen minutes, it was time to pull the jars out.
The distraction part of this activity seemed to be working, I was concerned with the state of my home, and those of my friends across town, but just a little bit of me was wondering if I had totally botched this hair-brained scheme. Luckily, as the jars cooled and I checked the lids for that formidable popping noise, they had sealed. Amid all the chaos and confusion, something on this terrible, no-good-day, had gone right. That was worth a smile.
We got lucky, the water came within a few feet of our home, but by morning the river that was our street subsided, and our crawl space stayed mostly dry. Once again, we got really, really lucky. The days following have been spent helping friends build berms made from garbage cans, and whatever else we could find, shoveling lots of mud, sorting through water logged posessions, and giving lots of hugs. Growing up I wondered a little bit about how people got through situations like this, some losing everything, while others were barely touched. It sounds cliche to say its not fair, and it isn't, but to see how friends and neighbors are coping, how communities affected are coming together, does inspire hope. I'm not sure how this will all play out, or how long it will take to get back to "normal", but I can promise you, there is plenty of hope.
P.S. I am now hooked on canning, so when things calm down a bit, I will write an actual blog about canning. In the mean time, thanks for reading.
*Last time in Recipes: Healthy School Snacks