Thursday, August 7, 2008

Those were the days

When I married at 21, I was transported from suburban life in California to farm life in Ontario, Canada. We drank milk straight from our cow, enjoyed our own eggs and, of course, planted a gigantic vegetable garden every summer. My MIL taught me how to bake pies with the flakiest crust and how to can the fruits of the season.
Now I live in New York State in a subdivision that backs onto green belt but no cow, no chickens and no vegetable garden (too many trees and very little sunshine!) I try to buy most of my fruits and veggies from a local fruit stand but I no longer can, preserve, pickle, jam and freeze what I did in the 70's and 80's.
My memory is filled with the images of countless canning jars sitting on the kitchen counter, filled with the jewel tones of ripe fruit, the small jars of crabapple jelly firming up in the sunshine on the window sill and the big freezer filling to the top with bags full of bright green and yellow veggies.
This is what I would put up each year for the coming winter:
sweet cherries
sour cherries
tomato juice
stewed rhubarb
dill pickles
bread & butter pickles
sour pickles
sweet relish
tomato relish
black currant
red currant
crabapple jelly
green beans
yellow beans
brussel sprouts
I remember the backaches after picking peas and beans, which always seemed to be ready at the same time. There were hours spent in a steamy, hot kitchen and feeling dead tired at the end of the day, but mmmmm, lovely summer goodness to enjoy during the cold winter.
But now we don't eat canned fruit. I make applesauce sometimes but that's about it. No more do we have Sunday Dinners with roast beef and yorkshire pudding always accompanied by bread & butter pickles and crabapple jelly. One jar of jam that I keep on hand for the grandkids lasts for months. And I tend to buy my veggies fresh rather than frozen.
But those were the days. I'm glad for the memories. Do you put up the bounty of summer to enjoy during the winter? Was there a time when you did?


Stam House said...

Thanks for sharing this post!!!!
This year we moved to the country Yay!!! and I have the priviledge to do pretty much what is on your list and I do enjoy it soooo much!!!!

But my problem is to wait and keep all the goodies for winter I'm tempted to eat them now!!!!LOL

Have a great day!

Alexis said...

Wow, that's quite a lot of putting up you used to do! I have never done any canning but I'm going to try this summer. Do you have any tips?

Thanks for visiting my blog so that I could find your delightful one!

randi said...

I put up mostly jams and pickles and I freeze the rest. This year I missed all of the sales on berries, so no there will be no jams for the winter. Boo-hoo!

Kelsey said...

Wow thats alot of stuff! We always make black berry jam and applesauce!