In the cupboard.

January 26, 2011

Today we’re delving into our cupboards, or more particularly,  my canning cupboard. I don’t know much about any one else’s canning cupboards, but I know mine is looking a bit bare.  This summer my favorite tomato processing machine was ambushed by my little guy as he took a main piece of it and placed it in our recycle bin. Did we notice this before it went to the curb? No. Therefore many of my precious tomatoes got roasted and frozen to be made into sauce at a later date.

What I love about looking at my canning cupboard is remembering all the stories that happened around the time those things were put up.

The summer before my son was born we made pickles. By we, I of course means I was nine months pregnant and I sat and cut cucumbers to the right size while my husband made the brine, sanitized the jars and basically finished the whole process. I supervised. He sweetly labeled them for me and we had a lovely, two year batch of Pia’s Pickle. Our friends and families have received these as presents throughout the year and I have been told they are the best we’ve ever made. Maybe I should “let” him help more often!

We also canned roasted red peppers and zucchini relish. The relish was made as one of my very first entry into the State Fair. I made it because I had ample zucchini and I really, really wanted to enter stuff into the fair. I entered a pie, pickles and relish: and did not win anything for any of it!  If you have never had zucchini relish it is the best over grilled meats and vegetables. Sweet, briny and chock full of vegetables, it is a wonderful accompaniment. I also really like it on salads and wraps.  The roasted red peppers are one of my favorites to add to pasta, sandwiches, and especially on pizzas.

Jams! Jams! Jams! We love jam in our house. I believe all of us live on peanut butter and jellies, homemade fruit bars and toast. Yes, we love our bread and jam. In this cupboard we have strawberry, blackberry and fig, along with the (yikes!) last jar of canned pears. The strawberries were from the first batch of last summer’s local berries, a sweet, succulent berry that just melts in your mouth. The blackberry and fig jams were the last batch from my husband’s grandmother’s farm that they left this year.  Every year we would go berry and fig picking at their farm and make jams and pies from them. This was our very last time with the berries and every taste of our jam reminds us of that September picking berries in the warm sun.

Yes, our pantry has many stories to tell, and as we delve into the rest I look forward to sharing our stories of putting food up. Generally, taking the time to grow, pick and purchase quality, in season produce and fruits means being hopeful for the future – taking time to really prepare for what we hope will be a pleasant winter filled with the tastes and smells of summer.




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