Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mixed Berry Jam and An Ounce of Prevention

Yesterday afternoon I had cool weather, a bit of time, and a bunch of berries. I had strawberries that were needing to be put up or eaten right away, a little over a cup of blueberries from the grandparents, and a cup of blackberries from our garden.

Put them all together, and I have the most awesome tasting jam! I like the combination of the three types of berries. I've never tried that combo before, but this time I didn't have enough of any one kind for a whole batch. Isn't it wonderful when an experiment or substitution turns out better than you expect? I wish I could give you a taste over the computer, but you'll just have to come on over or make some yourself!

Jam is so easy to make and can as long as you follow the directions on the pectin box. I don't think it took even an hour from start to finish, including gathering materials and clean up. I made a little over eight cups of jam, and every jar I sealed made the satisfying "poink" sound when they cooled. When I first started canning years ago, I learned that the most essential part of the process is to make sure the edge of the jar is wiped clean and there are no chips or rough spots to break the seal. Special attention to neatness, and following all the steps, yield the best results.

It's a little like other parts of my life. Often I'm tempted to let some things slide, thinking I'm too busy to pay attention to some details. But how many times have those shortcuts been the very things that cause bigger problems later on?

How many times have I had to go out and buy a tool or a paintbrush because I didn't put the one I already own away when I last used it? How much have I spent on library fines or late fees because I was too busy, and forgot to do things when they were due? How much money could we have saved, had we changed the oil regularly or took the car in when the check engine light first turned on? How much suffering could we have avoided by taking better care of our health and teeth before getting sick or having cavities? Mending clothes when the rip first appears, fixing a leak right away, keeping up with the housework and garden, and taking the time to organize, all save time and money in the long run.

I may feel I have too much on my plate to slow down and take care of things, but it's better to spend time, energy, and money on prevention, rather than to have to deal with bigger problems later. The old saying, a stitch in time saves nine, is really true!

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