Thursday, July 3, 2014

Filling the Pantry Shelves



My old friend made her return to the kitchen this week. She will sit comfortably on my stove top for the next few months, called into service after we pick strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and apples from our local farms, forage blackberries from the woods, or harvest cucumbers, green beans and beets from the garden in the backyard. She never complains about her work, even when the heat and humidity creep up to almost unbearable highs. Best of all, she is my partner in crime as I work to put local food on the pantry shelves for the winter ahead. Oh, how I have missed my dear old canning pot.

We hit the strawberry farm last Friday with some friends. There are many strawberry farms in our area, but I drive a little ways to get to this one. I enjoy my conversations with the farmer and his wife, they live a slow simple life on a quiet farm, and best of all, they refuse to use chemicals.

We headed out early to try and beat the sun and the heat, and pretty much had the whole field to ourselves. There was a lot of picking, and a little eating, strawberries fresh from the vine, warmed by the sun are just too hard to pass up. Once back at home, the fun began...some jam making and some freezing. By Saturday afternoon, all but a bowl of strawberries were put up on the pantry shelves and in the freezer, ready to help sustain us during the long, cold winter ahead.

This is just the beginning, and I have a feeling it is going to be a pretty good canning season.

24 comments:

  1. you have a great little helper there !!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I find the act of putting up food brings on the most satisfying feelings of contentment. In years past I would put up roughly 500 quarts of everything I could get my hands on to make sure my family was well feed. This past spring was the first time in many years that I didn't make any jam since we are now down to three in the house and I still have jars on the shelf.
    With the season all wacky I am still waiting on figs to ripen and I might put a few in jars, but most of my canning will happen this fall when the beans and cucumbers are the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too Tracey. Wow, that is a lot of food put by. I hope one day to have jam last us all winter, but as of yet, no go. My hubby eats it by the spoonful :) I am pleased to say that this year is the first year we are eating last years harvest and starting to put food by for the winter...and that feels pretty awesome.

      Figs, how I wish we could grow those.

      Delete
  3. Mmmm....I missed strawberries this year, but I've made up for it in blueberries and cherries.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I need to get on this- preserving has been a dream of my to learn and do. You inspire. I remember how good my granny's jams were. Enjoy your harvest :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You definitely should. Super easy to do and so rewarding. Happy to inspire :)

      Delete
  5. How lovely! We have recently found out that Phoebe may be allergic to strawberries.... however, we hope if she doesn't eat any for a few months, her body will readjust, and the allergy will disappear. So... we haven't had any strawberries around our house for about a month, as it would be too tempting for her. But, as I look at your jam, I am almost drooling!

    ReplyDelete
  6. We really must get to the strawberry farm near us, we haven't been yet and your jam looks really tempting. Especially with a scone and clotted cream, mmmm!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you must. And then enjoy a scone with jam and cream for me :)

      Delete
  7. We foraged our walk home picking the sweetest raspberries ever. But I do not make anything with them, luckily for me my dad does and gives me jars :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I can't wait for the wild raspberries, I think this year is going to be an amazing crop. We have wild ones around our property and in the woods across the road. Hope you enjoyed them. And how wonderful of your dad to share :)

      Delete
  8. YUM! What a gorgeous bounty you have there :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I cannot wait to can some peach lavender butter. Oh and the applesauce in September! Eeek!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I might have to whip some of that up this year, and yes, applesauce, although I don't water bath that, I just freeze it in jars. So much to look forward to!

      Delete
  10. I thought that was a shot of your strawberry patch at home. I was going to be very impressed with your yield! :-) We are due to hit the strawberry farms as well, it will be the first time for our little man.

    Ah! The canning pot... we are actually investing in a pressure canner this year. Such excitement. I feel like we are going on our dream vacation. LOL! Maybe because staying in my home, canning all year feels like a dream. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, no, although that would be nice. Hope your little man enjoys it. Staying at home, hanging out in the gardens and just enjoying our time here is like a vacation for us too! I read a quote once about creating a life that you don't need a vacation from. It is exactly what we have tried to do.

      Delete
  11. It doesn't get any better than homemade jam, especially when you have such a good helper.

    ReplyDelete