High Temperature: 91F
Although it feels early, the season of "putting up" has officially begun in our household. Every summer we have basil that self-seeds - bushes and bushes of it! We no longer plant it unless it's a new variety, like the spicy basil we planted this year. I've already made a few batches of pesto which went into the freezer as small, dark green cubes. And as I write this, the dehydrator is drying out several trays of basil leaves which will go whole into large opaque jars. There is no comparison to home-dried herbs to their store-bought counterparts.
Hit with a pile of zucchini recently, I decided to make pickles with them. I dusted off (yes, I literally dusted off) the water bath canner and assembled the rest of what I would need: jars, lids, tongs, clean kitchen towels, various spices, and of course, the zucchini itself.
Canning seems as if it will be a monumental, day-long task - and it can be, of course - but doing it in small batches is easy and can be done fairly quickly. Checking the seal, applying labels, and then storing the pretty jars away for later provides a deep sense of satisfaction. Much like the squirrel must feel as he busily buries acorns in the abundant summer that later will nourish him through the lean winter and early spring months.