When canning offers a surprising why

Once a year between running a business and living life, I am overcome by the urge to pickle or can produce.  If I were wise I'd institute a twenty-four hour cooling off period between when the idea assaults me and the time I take action on it. But, I am not all that wise.  So once a year I find myself in the kitchen surrounded by heaps of produce and the paraphernalia for canning.  And in the chaos I wonder why I thought it was a good idea.  I'm not a highly domesticated human and I prefer solving a complex business or life puzzle to seeing rows of jars in a cold cellar.  I don't need to can produce to preserve the fruits of a large garden.  It is difficult for me to identify a logical reason for undertaking a canning venture.

The only reason I have come up with is that the peach-blueberry jam is divine and canning is another challenge.  We don't eat much jam so if I am really honest about it, the only reason I can is because of the challenge.  It's just another thing that I wonder if I can do; so I have to try.  That means that I seldom make the same recipe twice other than the peach-blueberry jam therefore the whole idea is fraught with risk of failure.

It started with wild blueberries and ended with why!
Last week I was home alone which made the whole concept of canning very attractive.  I had hours of uninterrupted time to marathon can.  If the kitchen was a disaster from one end to the other, it inconvenienced no one but me.  And, if my canning efforts failed I could dispose of the failure before anyone else knew about it.  The conditions were ideal for the perfect canning storm.

By mid-morning the kitchen looked like a storm had passed through and I had driven over a hundred kilometres looking for dill weed.  Dill weed had never been so illusive in the past.  On Saturday I tried the mainstream grocers in the west part of the city without luck.  At 7 a.m. on Sunday morning I headed to a small town nearby thinking they would surely have dill weed since they catered to a farming community.  As I strode into the store, the produce worker said, "You look like you are on a mission, what are you looking for?"

He let me know he had been unable to source dill weed and told me my best option would be back in the city at a farmers market.  I was mid-challenge by now and was not about to be thwarted by a glitch in the supply of dill weed. There were pounds of cucumbers at home that had been soaking in brine and ice over night.  I was committed. The produce worker had read the situation correctly; I was on a mission.

He was right about the dill weed too.  I found it at the farmers market and headed back to the swake to slay the canning dragon that had visited my kitchen. As I pickled and canned I had plenty of time for reflection.  That's when I asked myself why I had taken on the canning project. I'd also been reading Simon Sinek's work about starting with your why.  Amidst the sterilized jars I had some clarity.  It was not about the canning at all, but about the challenge of trying something new and the opportunity to start and finish something in its entirety within a set time.

When the canning challenge was complete there were a couple of rows of jars on my counter that were a testimony to not giving up.  All week I left them on the counter to remind myself that I did it and to temper any new ideas about pickling or canning product!  I think I shall institute a mandatory twenty-four hour cooling off period if I am ever overcome by the urge to pickle or can again.  In that time I will ask myself why.   If I can wrestle my why to the mat and I am satisfied with the reason, then I will get the canner out of the basement storage room!  What are you wrestling with?


  1. Well, Joy, you will have to read my blog tomorrow morning. I wrote it yesterday, and it involves canning! (different slant, though.) I also wrestled with the why. You're right, it is the challenge, but more than that for me.

  2. Thanks, Joy! I wonder if, sometimes, you need to be up to your elbows in brine and hard-fought dill weed to truly discover the why!

    1. Hi Fran - experiential learning and all that stuff, including briny elbows. I do believe you are right!

  3. Thanks for the thoughts. I read Crow Day One and enjoyed it! Hilarious that you got busted while canning and fermenting a blog!


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