Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Putting Food By

It's what our ancestors did,
the ancestors who lived on farms
What they couldn't eat, they canned
For winter meals
Vegetables and fruits and jams and pickles
No freezers did these ancestors have
But they did have a "fruit cellar"
And hundreds of jars from half pint for jams and jellies to quarts for tomatoes and beans

Mom didn't really grow up on a farm
Although she grew up in a little town
But every summer she always
"Put Food By"

And in the summer at Linderhof,
her canning kettle sits on the stove

She never had a pressure canner
No, she did canning the old fashioned way
As her mother did, I am sure.

Tomatoes, green beans and peaches would be canned for the winter
Alas, most was not from our garden but rather purchased by the bushel
Just to can

She also made pear honey and grape jam
Because we had a pear tree and a grape vine.
I was a in Junior High School before I knew jam came in any flavor but grape!

And like her, I put food by as well
Not from the gardens of Linderhof
(Because they only grow herbs)
But purchased at the Farmer's Market

And not a lot -- not enough for the whole winter
But enough to make some meals special
And there is something satisfying about using Mother's canner

One of my favorite things to can --
Small tomatoes
A simple recipe from Anne Willan
a slice of onion, a bay leaf and some thyme
Fill the wide mouth jars with raw unpeeled whole tomatoes,
put on the flat lid and the ring and process in a boiling water bath
for an hour and a half
Weighing the jars down so they stay in the water
(they tend to want to float -- I just use one of my Le Creuset casserole lids)

They shrink some
But they taste of summer sun when you open them.

I bought a big box of Romas at the Farmer's Market Tuesday
And Wednesday, I "put them by"

I have shelves in the basement for my store.

And there is something satisfying about bringing up a home canned jar
from the basement.

It's Foodie Friday and I'm sharing my tomatoes with Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.


Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

My mom did all of that too. Rows of jars with our garden produce well into the winter lined the shelves in our cellar. I do some refrigerator pickles and freeze a lot of stuff. Thanks for sharing.

Michelle said...

I remember helping my mother with canning and pickling on the farm I grew up on, but I have never done this with my own children. I think I've always been afraid I would give everyone Botulism! We do go berry picking and freeze for baking later.