Yes We Can

Funny how my prediction came true and today was completely- and I mean all the way- devoted to dealing with Fruit Mountain. 18 quarts of applesauce (ingredients: apples) and 21 pints of wicked hot spicy peach-habañero chutney that also included lime basil, red onion, and cider vinegar that I infused with cinnamon, pepper (pink & black,) cardamom, star anise, bay, fenugreek, and mustard seeds. I also added some honey to balance the vinegar and let the peaches be all peachy-like.

I could write a bunch of breathless paragraphs about how primal and satisfying it is to put fruit up, and funny lines about how peeling 200 peaches (even with a little blanch) is roughly as enjoyable as removing my own upper lip with a wire brush, or wax eloquent about the healthy purity of the applesauce and the kick-ass multi-purposeness of the chutney. But I won’t. Because I am TIRED. So tired that I ordered dinner from the vegan place in town (which is a 2-minute walk from here, and our best takeout option by far.) And I popped another Bret Bos. Pouilly-Fuissé to elevate the perfectly decent food to a richer gustatory stratum. And it was good.

I will say that we now have a winter’s worth of pleasure stored up, and all this fatigue and grouchiness will soon be replaced by months of pleasure as we steadily open little jars of sunshine. And you should see the kid put away this applesauce. I’m also going to post a picture of the grape jelly canning from mid-September, because it’s very purple and drippy, and the smell might be the single most evocative food smell in the world for me (given that I’m from Concord, MA, and this was what we did every year.) Because I was away, I waited longer than I otherwise would have to pick and can the grapes; as a result, they were super-ripe and needed almost no sweetener- just a gloop of agave syrup.

After dinner, John dropped off a salmon, courtesy of Gerard, that I’m going to cure into gravlax tomorrow for the Sunday brunch following his Saturday wedding. And I have to make nasturtium butter for that too. And sambal for us, before the peppers freeze. And dinner. It’s getting ridiculous.

8 comments to Yes We Can

  • Brittany

    I suppose we should all get going on canning, growing crops in the back yard and stuffing our life savings into our matresses.

    Seriously though, “putting up” is such a fun/satisfying project. I’ve got a crapload of plums to do the same thing with- jams and chutneys ahoy.

  • cook eat FRET

    i would love to be able to grow and can like you do. i agree with heather. when the shit hits the fan, and it will – you won’t starve.

  • cook eat FRET

    i meant brittany

  • genevelyn

    Dear God-
    I feel so inadequate after reading this post. Kill me now so I might taste this chutney.

  • Heather

    I broke down and Amazon’d myself an 8-qt. pressure cooker today. I have some stocking up of my own, and now it doesn’t all hafta be pickled.

    Haha! Claudia got me mixed up with Brit. It’s because Brittany is so pretty, I just know it.

  • Zoomie

    So satisfying to see all those jars lined up, stored sunshine. Oh, yeah.

  • peter

    Brittany: It’s a lot of work, but the dividends are real, and enduring.

    Claudia: Yeah, I’m all about the apocalypse.

    Genevelyn- Email me your address.

    Heather: You’ll be so glad you got it. Think beans, or short ribs, all tender and luscious on a weeknight.

    Zoomie: Yeah. You don’t remember the toil and tedium when you open the jars in darkest February.

  • The Spiteful Chef

    Gawd. Peach-habanero chutney sounds right up my alley. I’ll go ahead and give you an “amen, my brothah” on the peach-peeling suckitude. I think it’s probably why all of our grandparents lived through the great depression but now have arthritis.

    What do vegans eat? Besides soybeans and sanctimony, I mean. I have learned to trust vegetarians, but I’m still not so sure about vegans. Seems kind of like the born-again Christians of the food world.

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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