Words about contentment inspired this series that celebrates ingenuity, creativity, and resourcefulness. Join me in the comments and share what you've done with what you have.
"We need to can peaches!" This, from our twelve-year-old boy, who, like me, lamented the day mid-winter when the last jar of home canned peaches was gone. With this weekend and a boxful of fresh peaches, we'll heed his command - stock up a fair stash for this winter, when we're wanting a fruit fix from our very own cupboard. I've also been eyeing a tree full of ruby red apples in a pasture down the road. Chewy, tangy-tart dried apples? A mouth-watering yes.
This is the provision of summer. From the first radishes and peas in the garden, to the rhubarb patch at the neighbor's place, to the profusion of thimbleberries growing wild right outside the cabin door at the lake (it truly was magical in the morning fog), there is bounty for us to pull, pick, preserve, our ancestral foraging tendencies gone wild.
Yet, interestingly, though we may have the desire, we might find ourselves stumbling over the notion that all this gathering and preserving will take an enormous amount of our time, which we may not have a spare portion of. Good thing sweating over a hot canning kettle all day doesn't have to be the case.
Have a basketful of broccoli or cauliflower? Wash it, blanch it in boiling water for 3 minutes, cool in ice water, drain, and freeze. Want a jar or two of jam? All you need is a quart of berries, a gaggle of jars, and a skillet. Pickles don't have to be only of the cucumber variety. Carrots, green beans, beets (or, indeed, cucumbers), with vinegar, herbs, and spices, sit quite nicely in briney goodness, one jar at a time. The oregano, basil, sage, dill, and parsley growing in pots on your front step? Snip them by the handful, wash and strip the leaves, blot them with a towel, seal them in freezer bags, and lay them in the freezer. Your life will change forever when you're cooking with "fresh" herbs, come winter.
There we go.
If there's even one jar preserved, one bag frozen, it's a simple, successful harvest.
Do what you can with what you have.
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