Sunday, August 23, 2009

Preserve/ Eat the Food

One quart of dehydrated Peaches
One pint of dried dill
One quart of dehydrated zucchini
Four quarts pole beans frozen
3 pints tomato salsa
4 pints Peach jam
1 gallon Peach wine

It is the thick of preservation season. Tomatoes are ripening, cucumbers are chubby on the vine. Butternut squashes are taking over the yard. I am keeping my eye on the local u-pick apple orchard. There are a few new recipes for apples that I want to try this year. Some of these yearly traditions are new to me and welcomed as the rhythm of this lifestyle becomes ingrained in the work of this season. But other traditions I continue from the elder women of my family.

I remember each Christmas my family would receive a pint of bread and butter pickles from my Aunt Lil'. Her very large garden always seemed so big to my young eyes. The texture of all those leaves and fruits seemed like a quilt on the ground. I never full appreciated the large brown paper bags of tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini that would be sent home to my single mother. But now I know just how valuable that gift was.

The "thwuck" of a sealed jar opening at Christmas Lunch is a note of music from early on and that sweet/ tart bite of the pickles was as desired as candy canes in our stocking. When I was a young teen, I have memories of being welcomed into the mystery of how those pickles got in the jar. Initiation to this rite involved the hand slicing of many small cucumbers. It was a coven in the kitchen; each woman, of each generation having their hand in the making of those pickles.

I work over my own cauldron now.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

I envy you that sharing with your elders. I never had that, and while I'm trying to share it with my daughters, and I will, hopefully, be given the chance to share it with my granddaughter, mostly, I learned about those things all by myself or with my husband (which was also very nice ;).

But the community of women has never been a part of my preserving experience. I think that's just too bad, too, considering how much a part of life it was for my grandma.