Fruit of the Season

Ah, the harvest. When my children were young, we would go to local farms to pick apples, pears, peaches, cherries, plums, blueberries, and raspberries. While each fruit has its own special qualities, raspberries were always the family favorite.

Each September, we’d pick hundreds of raspberries. Of course, the children would eat more of the sweetly tart fruit than they accumulated in the little pails that hung by strings around their necks. Coming home with our bags of juicy red fruit, I would enter the kitchen as though personally heralding in the new harvest season, ready to make jam out of our bounty.

This year, like other years, I performed my ritual of raspberry jamming. I love the feeling of preparing food for the season when local produce is less available. For many of our mothers, aunts, and grandmothers, this was a natural cycle. As simple as it may seem, making jam aligns me to the deeper rhythms of our ancestors, who didn’t prepare for immediate consumption but for the long winter that lay ahead. I have a deeper appreciation for the sweet-tartness of raspberry jam in January than I do in September. One spoonful and it’s enough to bring summer back in all its glory.

I also know how much time, energy, and love goes into each small jar. I just sent one precious jar from the newest batch to my daughter at college. She told me that she’s eating it in small spoonfuls straight out of the jar, just a little bit every few days. This way, she said, she’s making it last, savoring the fruit of the season.