“One of the secrets of cooking is to learn to correct something if you can, and bear with it if you cannot.”
– Julia Child
Well, I finally got the nerve and a deep stock pot to finally try my hand at canning! With beautiful local peaches available, I figured I’d keep it simple and try for a peach jam from the lovely cookbook Food in Jars, which you can find a similar, if larger, recipe here. It was a very enlightening experience, in just one recipe I glimpsed the beauty, the fun, the pain, the mess, and the accomplishment of creating jam… At the end of it I was a bit sore from head to toe from peeling and dicing peaches, stirring and dodging lava-like syrup, and then begging and pleading the jam to come out of the jar over dinner….
Somehow, I ended up not making peach jam, but a very yummy cylinder of fruit roll-up, except this one isn’t flat, and after the hubby spent 5 minutes of attempting to spread it on toast, it still looked like a large pebble.
The first lesson I found in my attempt at jam was just how impatient I am… I didn’t want to wait for the canning pot water to boil, check the seals, or pay attention to the boil as to avoid burning it, and I especially did not add ingredients slowly to achieve the right balance of flavors and set in the product.
After bemoaning my attempt to can as a failure for a few days, without the heart to attempt to eat more, I came across this blog post on (guess where) Food in Jars, encouraging me to embrace the flub, find new ways to use it and own it as a whole new thing (I’m now thinking a little slice of brie and a slice of my peach “jam” on crackers?). Like any experiment (as cooking often feels like a yummy science experiment), take the results in stride, and note the changes to be made for next time.
A friend once told me that we learn more from our failures than our successes – failure presents the opportunity to grow, to change, and to adapt. It’s helped me realize that perfection isn’t the goal – joy is. Just a thought to share – hope you find your joy in the middle of your week, no matter how it turns out!