Sunday, February 7, 2010

Feeding the Family: Fruit and Berries

The day my parents started carrying big crates from the trunk of the car to the kitchen, I knew some more days of canning was not far behind. What would ripen first? How many quarts would we get this year? Peeling peaches was the easiest. When they were just right, they would be dropped into boiling water, then quickly plunged into cold. My job was to slip the skins off and hand them over to mom, who quickly sliced them and packed them into the waiting jars. Pears were harder; they had to be peeled. Cherries and plums were only washed. Rhubarb was washed, cut into little pieces and made into "rhubarb sauce", which was amazingly good. I'd love to taste that again! Sometimes we would go to the Overton's farm and pick raspberries; sometimes we had strawberries. Everything looked so pretty in the quart and pint jars. Just about every evening, as mom was making supper she would say, "Audrey, go down the basement and bring up something for dessert." Should I get pears this time? Cherries? Or should I ask if I can make some pudding instead? Every supper, all winter, we had dessert and it was all delicious. Later in the fall, dad would bring home another crate; this time apples and sometimes oranges or grapefruit. These were put in the cold room in the basement and enjoyed for a long time. Yes, in the fruit and the vegetable department, we were ready for another year. But what about meat?

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