Pickling and Preserving: A Canning Experience

Recently, with a couple of new Vail Valley friends, I pickled and preserved for the first time.  We chopped and diced, sliced and peeled many different vegetables and fruits for our canning extravaganza!  We started with pickling: bread and butter style, as well as not-so-ordinary dill.  Next, we aimed to make some jam – triple berry and strawberry, primarily.  Our finale was peach and plum butter, with the assistance of a handy slow cooker.  But, my hands-down favorite was the tomato jam recipe, found by my lovely friend, Traci Greenwood, who happens to be the wife of Executive Chef Bill Greenwood, of Beano's Cabin in Beaver Creek!  And, luckily, we made this in excess – each taking home numerous jars.  In which, my family has already polished-off one full jar.  This tomato jam recipe had the sweetness of a fruit jam plus a spicy kick from the cayenne pepper addition.  My palette-pleasing way to enjoy this scrumptious jam is on toasted kalamata olive bread slathered with the tomato jam and topped with creamy havarti cheese.

Pickling and Preserving: A Canning Experience

In honor of this splendid tomato jam, I found the poem, “Tomatoes On My Windowsill” by Robin Benzle:

Tomatoes on my windowsill,
Lined up like happy soldiers,
From pale green as key lime pie
To red as sunburned shoulders.

They seem to smile at the sun,
While they patiently a-ripen.
And when I do my kitchen chores,
I smile back, enlightened.

One by one I take them down
From their nest upon the sill,
And add them to a salad or
Perhaps a sauce with dill.

Then to my garden I return
To pluck another load,
And tenderly I line them up
On that shelf in my abode.

No sooner do I get them shelved,
Than my garden calls me back.
They're ripening all at once, I think,
As I stuff them in my sack.

So I give them to my neighbors and
I give them to my friends.
I give them to my enemies,
Just to make amends.

Soon, I note they're turning red
So fast it makes me ill.
From off the vine, they drop like flies.
My plot looks like road kill.

Tomatoes on my windowsill
All rotting in a row.
I never thought I'd say this but,
"Where the hell's the snow?"


Jennie Iverson
Jennie Iverson

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