Fanning the Flames
Biting Off More Than We Can Chew
 
I started out with the best of intentions, I swear.
 
A friend of mine just closed on his new house and it has a cute grape arbor over the back porch, a small one. They were all super ripe, so I said, "Can I have the grapes since you don't like them?" "Sure," he said. I thought I'd make freezer jam. I've done it before with strawberries, no problem.  But the opportunity to make some sugar-free grape jelly for free? I leapt at the chance.
 
Boy howdy, did I overestimate my creative food capabilities. it took a couple of hours to pick all the grapes. We filled two 5-gallon buckets almost full. I was still thinking positively, though. "No problem, I'll just get more jars if I need them. It'll make nice gifts."
 
It turns out that processing grapes for jam is not only a lot harder than strawberries, I didn't have adequate tools. No strainer that could stand up to the strong grape pulp (they have seeds), not enough jars, and nothing really strong enough to crush all the grapes to be well-strainable. (Hush, that's a word if I say it is.)
 
I not only presumed that one experience meant all similar ones would be successes, I thought too big. I didn't break down the task and go look in the cupboards first to see if I had the right doohickeys. I didn't write out a plan of how many jars I would need, or really think through the process of crushing 8 gallons of grapes. I'm able to admit this project was, in the concept of making jam, a BIG FAIL. But I learned from it. I learned not to think all processes are going to be the same. To not bite off more grape clusters than I can process.
 
And I learned that most of my friends and neighbors are going to be getting clean, fresh, local grapes by the pound as a surprise gift. (ha ha) How does it make me feel? A bit embarrassed that I didn't think it through well enough, and I'm disappointed in myself for wasting about 1 gallon of food.  But you know what?
 
IT'S OKAY. I'm not a bad person for making a mistake and there are still options even though my main objective failed. I learned, I'm moving on, and it won't stop me from trying again next year with a more reasonable plan.
 
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Fanning the Flames, copyright 2019 Meghan O'Connor, all rights reserved.
 
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