Today my diet had been simple. I ate a pot of coffee and several Peanutbutter and Jelly sandwiches.

There are several reasons for this.

First of all, I don't have much food in the fridge. One of the benefits of traveling as much as I do is that I save a lot on groceries. The disadvantage is that I can't have perishable food in the apartment. The food I do have requires cooking. Since it's 94 degrees in here, that didn't have much appeal.

Second, if I went shopping, I'd come back with frozen, microwavable food, and I'd rather save those tasty treats for a special occasion.

Third and most importantly, is that the jelly is actually Rasberry Jam. Not just any Rasberry Jam, but Rasberry Jam I made myself.

Two weeks ago, I bought a ridiculous about fresh, organic raspberries at the Pike Place Market. Then I began the great experiment -- to see if I can bottle that sunshine. And it worked. I got 3 and a half jars of jam out of half a flat of raspberries. I even had left over berries that I snacked on for a day.

And today I opened my first jar and made some tasty sandwiches. I'm quite pleased with how they turned out -- the jam is full of flavor, with just enough sweetness. The actual raspberry taste comes through in a way I can't get from Smuckers.

I decided to try my hand at canning last year. I was at the market looking at strawberries. The vendor gave me a sample of the plump berries he got from a wholesaler. They were big, moist, and beautiful. And they had little flavor -- just what you find in the supermarket.

Next to those were some of the ugliest berries I've seen in a long time. They were organic berries from the Yakima valley. They were small, dark, and misshapen. When I bit into one, though, it tasted like -- get this -- and actual strawberry.

It was a flavor I hadn't had in more than 20 years. The last time I tasted berries like that, they were from the strawberry patch we had in the back yard when I was growing up. These organic berries wouldn't have survived the trip to a supermarket, but were just perfect at the farmers market.

So this year, I'm trying more fresh and real fruit. And I'm trying my hand at preserving it. Hopefully the ones I preserve will still be as flavorful in January as the are today. Even if they're not, they have to taste better than the Franken-fruit shipped up from South America in the winter.

Now, I just have to figure out how to grow real tomatoes in my apartment. I haven't had one of those in years, either.

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