Every summer, I get the urge to play squirrel and start packing things away for the winter months ahead.* As more and more beautiful produce comes to the garden (or this year, the farmers’ market), I find it harder and harder to resist the urge to pack it all up in jars to line our shelves.

This weekend, I caved.

I’ve been slowly building up a collection of red currants, bought in pint quantities and frozen until canning time. Some became red currant jelly, and some became rhubarb red currant preserves that will make an amazing substitute for cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving time.

And then there were the raspberries. Oh, the raspberries. There are many, and they are beautiful right now. We made a few jars of raspberry sauce, and a few more of raspberry jelly. I cannot tell you how in love I am with the raspberry jelly. So in love that it will be almost impossible to escape the summer without another batch (or three). Some things really are pure heaven.

We’ll probably do a few more jars of the sauces, too. They make a great addition to plain yogurt for Branden’s breakfasts, and tend to be better than the fruit stuff that comes from the store. Fruit sauce will also work wonders on my rice pudding in the mornings, or on pancakes, as salad dressings, on ice cream, or anything else you can think to put it on.

I know it’s a little early yet, but my mind is already beginning to turn toward fall, toward the tucking in and the storing up, laying aside jars of distilled summertime to be opened in the gray days of February. Seasons are a beautiful thing.

*However, unlike our neighborhood squirrel, I tend to wait until things are ripe before picking, and I don’t make off with every. last. green tomato from someone else’s plants. Just saying.