I belong to a dying breed. I like to consider myself a woman of perseverance. Not out of necessity but by choice. Use what you need, save the rest for later. Waste not, want not. These mantras are a part of me. I take pleasure in finding a steal of a deal. I love when I can save more than I spend. I rejoice when I can do it myself better and more affordable than buying. This holds true for many things but none more so than for the sustenance for my family.
I love to garden. I love to cook. I love to can. These hobbies compliment each other in ways that can be life changing. Could you imagine a gardener that can’t cook. Or that doesn’t partake in the fruits of his labor? Or a gardener that would see his crop whither on the vine because his belly is full? Could you imagine a chef that would prefer processed ingredients, preservative laden from a factory than straight from a garden? All of these notions seem ridiculous! Why would we be content to give our children this garbage? Where has the wisdom from our grandmothers gone?
In the age of google and YouTube university, the knowledge we lack in generational upbringing is available to us with a click of a mouse. You can google organic gardening methods and watch a video on how to can. I delight to see these things and the mild resurgence of the gardening/canning movement.
I am reminded of a passage in Leviticus 25 that says,
“The land will give its fruit and you may eat until you are satisfied, and you may live securely in the land. If you say, ‘What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not sow and gather our produce?’ I will command my blessing for you in the sixth year so that it may yield the produce for three years, and you may sow the eighth year and eat from that sixth year’s produce – old produce. Until you bring in the ninth year’s produce, you may eat old produce. The land must not be sold without reclaim because the land belongs to me, for you are foreigners and residents with me. In all your landed property you must provide for the right of redemption of the land.”
I know that Leviticus is all about laws but this screams to me. Be good to your land! It provides for you. Take care of your soil because that is from where the plant you eat gathers its nutrients. I could get off on a tangent here but I’ll try to hold true and touch on big agriculture in another post. I don’t see ‘old produce’ to be a term of rottenness but as produce that has been preserved to be good for many seasons. Kind of how Joseph saved the grain when he knew Egypt was going to see 7 years of famine.
I’m also reminded of Proverbs 31,
“She obtains wool and flax, and she is pleased to work with her hands. She is like the merchant ships; she brings her food from afar. She also gets up while it is still night, and provides food for her household and a portion to her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; from her own income she plants a vineyard.”
This passage speaks to me on so many levels that I will undoubtedly refer to it in many posts. While the man is the provider for the household, the woman is the provider for the home. These are the same but couldn’t be more different. A woman should grow what she is given. Clothe her family with a crop of cotton, keep them warm with a sheep, provide nourishment with a field and have stock for when famine strikes.
A dear friend just wrote of a woman’s role and I couldn’t help but nod my head, even though there were many parts that also made me cringe. I know that the womans lib movement did more harm than good. We can see the rotten fruit in the quality of family relationships, divorce rates, childhood obesity/disease and many other subjects where this apple has affected the bushel. We have lost the simple teaching from our mothers mothers. How to discipline a child, provide comfort and nourishment from a breast, how to preserve our harvest, how to make useful things with our hands, how to raise a God-fearing lady and gentleman, and so many other things.
But I digress. How can I change the nations? For now, I will be who I am called to be and will share my knowledge with whom ever can glean usefulness from it.
This has been a long-winded introduction to what I have been picking and preserving this summer. Just the other day, I had the pleasure of picking a 1/2 bushel of peaches with my mother and kids. We split the 25 pounds that we quickly gathered and have recipes working as I type. I have chosen to can a peach butter, peach BBQ sauce and peach slices in juice. I’m hoping to have a few more left to purée for little miss to keep in the freezer for when she moves on to fruits. Since I haven’t edited my pictures from the day yet and because mine were mostly of my son, I’m going to direct you to my moms blog where she has already put up a beautiful post about it.
The peach butter seems to be the easiest of the recipes since its cooked in the crock pot and water bath canned. When I went to bed it still wasn’t as thick as I had hoped and we’ll see if it looks any better by morning. I think I’m going to have way more than I anticipated!
Here’s the recipe that I’m using. Yay for Pinterest!!! Peach Butter
I should mention that I opted to have and non-spiced variety and I cut the sugar by half. I’ll let you now how the jarring process goes.