Wednesday, July 25, 2007
fresh picked produce
This past weekend, we went on down to Reedley, to my wife's folk's house. Being that it is the month of July, and her father is a gardening fiend, a trip to their house is like a trip to the market. As usual, we picked stuff for a few hours before packing the car and heading back home, this time resulting in a whopping 111 pounds of produce. Which come to think of it, is about half of our all time biggest load.
While visiting, I was speaking with my father in-law about our recent jam adventures and intentions of preserving stuff from this trip. He mentioned some of the things his mom used to "put up," including elderberry and blueberry when the berries had a good year. His reference to putting up food struck a chord with me. It reminded me of being very small and wandering into my grandma's pantry to stare at the multi-colored glass jars filled with food. He meant preserving and putting on the shelf for storage too, and coming from a child of the depression, this was something nearly everyone did. It wasn't considered liberal, or hippy or new age. You weren't considered weird or even strange in the least bit. You had an excess of a particular kind of food, so you feasted on it and then preserved it for later. No contemplating whether you needed to, or should. No pledging to folks that you would. You just did it.
So are we. I guess that makes me a child of the depression. Only this one is defined as the time when we forgot for the most part, how to grow, prepare and preserve our own food. We rely on others for our processed food needs, keeping the source obscured, cheap and distant, resulting in a massive depression of another kind marked by excess filled with emptiness.
As I write this, we have golden ketchup, seasoned tomato sauce and dried figs. There are peaches to jam, dry, or cut up for freezing. Plums to eat. Not pictured was corn and carrots. There were a number of white onions. That paper bag was half filled with green bell peppers and these light yellow, medium-hot kindamagigs. After picking up a pork roast, tomatillos and jalapeños yesterday, I've been having fun with chile verde in grandma's test kitchen today, and the aroma is making me weep with happiness.
Keeping this one short today, so I gotta go. Gotta stir, peel, chop. Salt and boil. Try not to burn the hell out of myself in the process. A lot of work, that will be yummy later. September and beyond is going to be delicious.
Time to put up.