Canning with Doc Watson

Oodles of blueberries. What a delightful predicament!

Let me admit before we go further: I have a penchant for folk music. I also love to can, or at least, I love the results of canning and willfully forget how miserable the actual process often makes me. But good music, frequent taste tests, and the prospect of hoarding jam help ameliorate my suffering.

And so it was that I found myself in the kitchen a week ago with 36 dry pints of organic blueberries and a new Doc Watson CD blaring from my crotchety old stereo. The occasion? I found the blueberries on sale for a ridiculously good price, and Doc Watson died at the age of 89 in late May, prompting me to finally explore his music and adding to my general sense that the good, true things in the world are being rapidly lost.

Suffice to say, it’s now a week later, and I am finally wrapping up production and have listened to Doc’s masterful rendition of “Tennessee Stud” upwards of 30 times, subjecting Kelly and the immediate neighborhood to my own keening accompaniment.

There’s nothing quite like counting up your jars when the canning’s done. I am pleased to report that, with Doc’s help, I’ve canned a total of 22 half pint jars and 17 pint jars of the following jams: blueberry jam sweetened with our very own “heartbreak honey”, blueberry jam sweetened with sugar, blueberry/cherry jam, and blueberry/raspberry jam. In case anyone cares, this count doesn’t include the handful of jars that didn’t seal, and which I consumed by the spoonful, nor does it figure the few jars already gifted to friends and family. I feel rich.

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