Canning season brings a grape jelly surprise PDF E-mail

Things here on the home front haven’t got any easier the past few weeks. Just like many rulers of the local households, the betterhalf has been busy doing some canning of tomatoes and making what she titles “bread and butter pickles.”

And just like many husbands, I, at times, detect a little kitchen tension and make the wise move to stay out of the kitchen when such canning activities are going on.

Staying out of the kitchen throughout the years has been the directive from the betterhalf. She doesn’t appreciate me being underfoot, questioning why she has certain routines, or asking why she keeps certain kitchen hardware and products in such odd inefficient places.

During this canning season -- which only came about because she received a free box of tomatoes and cucumbers from a friendly gardener -- her patience wore a little thin and, putting it bluntly, “I nearly got canned by the canner.”

If figures prove me right, the betterhalf last had a major canning operation about eight to 10 years ago. At that time she had me take the remaining unused canning jars to the basement and put them away in the adjacent crawl space. As a dutiful husband I had performed the job and, to my surprise, had required no “double checking” from the betterhalf, who normally would’ve insured my efficiency.  My efficiency in those earlier years now has been proven inadequate and triggered my near-firing in this 2013 canning episode.

This year, the betterhalf went to the crawl space to dig into her reserve of canning jars. To her surprise she found a taped box of a dozen jars amidst a few sacks of canning jars in the dark confines of the crawl space. She grabbed the box and hauled it upstairs to the kitchen. Little did she know there was even a bigger surprise in store for her... and eventually also for me.

When she opened up the box she discovered a dozen jars of home-canned grape jelly, all neatly sealed from what we believe was possibly a 2003 grape crop.

As is the rule in our household, I was eager to assume responsibility for such a storage error. I was quick to admit back 10 years ago I must have grabbed the freshly canned grape jelly box along with the sacks of unused canning jars and placed them all in cool storage area. There the lode remained until its discovery this year.

Now more questions remain. Do we spread our 10-year-old grape jelly on our breakfast bagels? Will grape jelly get better with age, just like a fine wine?

We have taken a finger-dipping sample of the jelly and the betterhalf even sampled the spread on her bagel this morning. Now, stay tuned. If you don’t hear a report the betterhalf is in the hospital with food poisoning, you can assume the grape jelly will be used. Well, used at least by her. I still might need a few more weeks to build up my courage for a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich from our household.

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