The best books for kids (or maybe ever) are the Little House on the Prairie series, and the best parts of all of those books are about food. Do not try to convince me otherwise.
I am particularly fond of the chapters devoted to "putting food by" for a long hard winter. Like the time Laura's family killed a whole pig and spent the day boiling its hide and playing soccer with its bladder and roasting its tail as a crispy and delicious treat and oh my god nothing has ever sounded so fun to me in my entire life.
Well, maybe seeing Taylor Swift live in concert. But the day after that, driving back to DC, blasting Fearless with four pounds of sour cherries riding shotgun was pretty great, too.
I am not particularly good at making jam. It takes patience and an eye for detail, neither of which I really have.
I used a recipe from Marisa McClellan's fantastic website Food in Jars, as I almost always do when I make jam or pickle. The recipes are easy to follow, low-sugar and safety-focused.
Taking the jars from the water bath feels like magic every time. They make this pinging sound as they cool, and that's how you know they've sealed. Then they keep for a year or more on your shelf! Sadly, there is no crispy and delicious tail to roast.
Or a hide to de-bristle. But there is toast!
And enough jars to dole out as little gifts through the end of the year.
I'd never had sour cherry before, it has a really nice cherry-pie flavor, brighter, more aromatic and a little more bitter than dark cherries.
Man, I can't wait till the hipsters in Bloomingdale start up the pig bladder soccer league. Until then, I'm going to pickle some okra.