ha, not around here you don’t. when i first started fiddling with food preservation, i kept everything, i canned and dehydrated every excess vegetable, herb or fruit that came within reach. all season, as we apprenticed on a tennessee farm before getting land of our own, the sound of the pressure building in my pressure canner or the water boiling away in the water bath, was heard. back then these fruits of my education had to be shelf stable, who knew when we would have a freezer to call our own. now, years later with 3 kids are in the picture, i have narrowed my focus: i stick to what my family consumes! i can, freeze, dehydrate, and lacto ferment our favorites and store them away for the winter ahead.
really, when the season gets rolling and you need more than ever to take a day off (also known as the one day to clean the house, do laundry,catch up on countless items that got left undone during the busy week), the food starts to present itself in abundance as well. sunday is the obvious day to preserve the bounty. we have just returned from our CSA delivery and market day with a fair amount of excess, even after we distribute the goods to both kitchens, the pile still looms. spring is not my major food preservation time, save that for tomato season, but i do like to get the water bath rolling and put a few spring goodies up for the winter i know will come.
often these sundays are some of the nicest times in the summer kitchen and today was no exception. i had only charlotte as my companion the others were off the farm, so we made quick work of the jobs ahead. we focused on two main crops: strawberries and scapes. the first of the season’s fruits speak for themselves, strawberry jam is an absolute favorite around here, really the more the merrier. with sticky hands and excitement for the winter’s warm biscuits, we stowed away 16 pints in the pantry.
i have to admit it took me a few years of garlic growing to realize what a delicacy the flowering shoot of the hardneck garlic really is. the scape as it is called is plucked off the plant to stimulate the growth of the bulb. these once a year mild garlic delights are turned into the most amazing pesto and pickles: both were made today. the scape pickles are canned and the pesto froze.
food preservation is an important part of my work, somehow storing the farm’s abundance during the season takes some time, but it does make for some wonderful eating as the growing year comes to an end. pull out your canners friends, the time is now!