Monday, July 2, 2012

Strawberry Jam (and Pie)

This past weekend I found my center.  I got quiet and listened to that inner voice, that small, tiny voice that very often gets drowned out by the loud chaos that is my mind.  The voice that says, it's going to be alright.  

How did I get to this place you ask? Yoga? Nope. A nature walk? Hell no.  Quite possibly something as shocking as me getting next to nature and deep breathing...I made jam.  And a pie.

That's right I hulled almost eleven pounds of strawberries.  I sliced and mashed my way to a freer mind and a lighter heart.

Last week, the peaceful fields of strawberries I took my children to for an adventure in berry picking turned into a nightmare.  After picking all those berries, my baby JT (I can call my 6-year-old my baby, right?) broke his arm.

Left with a broken boy and a refrigerator full of f&*#ing strawberries, I was at a loss for what's next this summer.

After a bit of a meltdown, my husband realized I needed a break. He took the kids to a family party and told me to stay home and get some rest.  Tempted to plop myself on the couch and watch a Kardashian marathon and wallow, I stopped myself.  I opened the fridge and confronted those damn berries.
I squinted my eyes and pursed my lips as if I was in a showdown. It was go time.  Me and the berries.  After a disastrous picking experience, I wasn't going to let those berries get the best of me.   I ran to the store and bought canning jars and the ever-important (and gluten free)Pectin. 

When I returned, that's when, with no proper canning equipment (except the jars and pectin respectfully), I began to hull the hell out of those berries.  

It was like a musical montage scene out of a movie where the main character is getting over heartbreak or finding a passion.  Or like Daniel-Son in The Karate Kid. I was going to kick some ass, except I don't look 12 and there's no one telling anyone to take out my knee.  

I was in a groove.  The Standards Pandora channel playing as my soundtrack--Rosemary Clooney, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra. (Yup, I was really kicking some ass.) 

The hulling was methodical, soothing, calming.  I wasn't picturing my baby falling, wasn't worried about problems that I couldn't control.  I was all about the strawberries.

I printed out a canning how-to courtesy of Google, grabbed some tongs and started processing. In a pinch, I made a funnel out of a Diet Coke bottle.  It wasn't pretty.  But it felt good.

I had a purpose.  I was creating.  I had control (sort of).  And if it didn't work out, so what?  It was just jam.  And it would be alright.

After I processed my jars of jam and let them sit, I still had leftover berries.  So I made a pie.  Isn't that a saying?  When life hands you strawberries, make pie.  No?  Well I just made it my saying.  

I processed my berries and my anxiety.  I regained control and it felt good.  And damn it, it tasted good.

What the rest of the summer holds for us is a mystery still, but I'm going to take a cue from JT moving forward.  We are still waiting for the special ordered, extra small waterproof cast to come in and be put on his arm.  But that isn't stopping him from living life and healing and being alright.  And of course playing baseball.

A healing boy, jam and pie?  Maybe this isn't the worst summer ever and things will indeed be alright.

Click here for the link to the Gluten Free Strawberry Pie recipe, it was delish. 

Click here for the link to canning strawberry jam that I found (I didn't follow it exactly, but it was great).

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