Last fall I made 36 little 4 oz jars of apple butter. It was the first time I’d ever canned anything and I was terribly nervous, but every jar sealed. As I fretted over jars that struggled to remain upright in the boiling water bath, two girlfriends sat on my couch trying to find their way through recent heartbreak.
Although I enjoyed their company, it was unnerving to listen to them, one being recently divorced, as I prepared for my wedding. Those little jars were to go with an equal number of little jars of smoked salmon that Tyler caught, smoked and canned in Alaska. Together they were our wedding favors. Homemade items that felt like they represented us. At the time “us” felt far apart with me in Texas preparing my DIY wedding items and the Alaskan boy in Alaska fishing and golfing and feeling like the wedding was still far off.
The two crockpots crowded my kitchen. I didn’t have enough counter space so they sat on stools while the sterilized hot glass jars were filled on my counter next to the stove. I didn’t know what to expect. Was the apple butter supposed to be this dark? Yes, it’s perfect. Was it smooth enough? Yes, it will continue to break down as you process it.
I didn’t question loving Tyler or marrying him, although I did question whether or not I was going to make it through our wedding planning. Throughout my life I’ve questioned the longevity of marriage but not whether trying was worth it.
This weekend we celebrated our first anniversary with starting the search for a dog to be a member of our family. We toasted our marriage with beers over queso. When I decided to make apple butter two days later to share with my coworkers and friends- the people who have newly become important to me- Tyler wasn’t in Alaska. He was helping me. Or at least keeping me company.
We made it in our new kitchen in our new house because we are homeowners now in a town that is just now beginning to feel like home. I once again worried that the apple butter wasn’t smooth or dark enough (cook for longer!) and I struggled to find all the jars and lids as I still don’t know where we’ve put everything.
I know it is the first of many more anniversaries. After all, I’ve told him we’re required to make it to our 50th. After that, we can reconsider.
To make your own apple butter (with extra love) I recommend Martha Stewart’s Overnight Apple Butter. Great for wedding favors and coworker surprises.