The other day as I was placing sealing lids on my hot jars of pear butter, it occurred to me what a revolutionary act it was. I was thinking through my reasons for why I was doing it. And I thought to myself that most people would scoff at the sweat and dirt, mussed hair, and heavy breathing necessary to grow the food, let alone to process it while standing over boiling water in the middle of August. I imagine lots of folks wondering, well, why don't you just buy it at the store, for a convenient, low price? Why all the sticky bother?
In these moments, I remind myself, first of all, that one cannot FIND pear butter at the store, or if you happen to find it, say at a kitschy, specialty shop, you will pay a dear premium for a product that likely has sugar and other additives together with the pears. The kitschy pear butter may not be local. And besides these groovy food quality, price, and local factors, it is worth it to have our own pear butter because it is delicious on pancakes in February, when fresh, ripe pears are a distant memory (unless you are lucky enough to have a root cellar or an electrical cold storage!). Besides, it's much more exotic than applesauce, though we make some of that, too.
But what's really radical about it is just the unplugging: unplugging from a disposable waste stream (no throw-away container), unplugging from far away, trucked-in food, unplugging from the distance between grower and eater, from the need to go to the grocery store to purchase the food we eat, unplugging even from the idea that one must spend cash money to eat. It's simple, clean, delicious, saves resources, and is therefore healthier for everyone involved. So I feel good when I am canning and sweating, despite 90 degrees, in the kitchen, in August.