Monday, October 18, 2010

Where's Vanilla?

A few days ago we posted a persimmon story. Today we continue with the kitchen saga. BBBH has been putting up produce, witness these lovely jars of crab apple jelly. A by-product of this endeavor was a very nice bowlful of crab applesauce. It is fantabulous! How likely is it that someone who really likes persimmons will also enjoy crab applesauce? Very.

Nor have I forsaken the kitchen. I am still processing persimmons. I also took time to pickle the hot peppers which I stripped from the bushes as I pulled them. I grow serranos, a somewhat smaller version of jalapeno.

All this kitchen palaver leads me down the Road of Reminiscences. We do these things primarily for fun, though to be sure we will enjoy the fruits of our labor at a later date. But my parents did these things and on a large scale as a matter of survival. Were it not for the gardens Dad raised and the produce Mom "put up" we would have had a much less satisfactory childhood.

Dad would dig a storage pit for root vegetables, cabbages, certain fruits and other stuff. He would layer the goodies with straw between the layers. Too, the crock processed cabbage for kraut.

Meanwhile, Mom canned literally hundreds of quarts of fruits and vegetables, as well as some meat. She did this with a nine-quart (I believe) pressure cooker on a wood-fired kitchen range. She lived in constant terror-- that the thing would blow up! It never did. (A few years after Mom died, I saw that pressure canner out by the barrel for the trash hauler.)

We didn't have a lot of money or a lot of "things" and we were taught that "patches are no shame, but being dirty is." But, we always ate well!

Where's Vanilla? That would be the tallest bottle in the cabinet.


Secondary Roads said...

I used to think it was strange that my parent's large garden, which I used to help tend, went away when the kids grew up and left home. Today, I understand. Mom spent a lot of time canning in the fall. I still enjoy home-canned foods. They always seem better than stuff from a store. Stuff that has chemical and other things in it.

vanilla said...

Chuck-- The good ol' home-grown, Mom-processed foodstuffs certainly were hard to beat!

Lin said...

My mom never canned, but I did a little years ago. I loved having those tomatoes in winter for chili and spaghetti. YUM! Never did anything other than tomatoes and now I just don't feel like it anymore. Spoiled, eh?

vanilla said...

Lin-- Ellie and I used to raise and can tons of tomatoes, beans and other stuff. No more. Store shelves are so convenient. Yet one rather misses the mess-- and the much better tasting produce in February, imo.

Vee said...

All of that hard labor is no doubt why I never felt poor. None of my friends had any more than I did, so there was really no one to envy. (And I didn't become a "clothes horse" until I had a job of my own.)

vanilla said...

Vee-- Your "upbringing" did you proud. You turned out great. But wait, you're a horse? I did not know that.