Saturday, 11 August 2007

Applesauce Memories

I love fruit. This gives me a really good reason to love this time of year. All the fresh produce makes my mouth water and I tend to over-buy because it all looks so good. Then when I get home I have to keep reminding everyone to eat more before it goes bad.

Living in Southern Alberta, we grow apples, strawberries, raspberries and a few other things. But most of the fruit we eat comes from British Columbia or Washington. My aunt brings in fruit to sell every year. We put in our order for cases of fruit every time she is expecting a shipment. The fruit direct from the orchard tastes so much better than anything we buy in the grocery store.

Of course, by ordering I am just making work for myself. We always can dozens of bottles of peaches, pears and applesauce. Most years I will find a few new recipes and try them out. I find if I do smaller batches and try new things, I don't mind the canning too much. Truth is, canning is one of those chores I could do without. But there is something satisfying about going into the storage room after the work is all done and seeing hundreds of colorful jars lining the shelves. I also appreciate being able to control what goes in the jars. In the long run, food tastes so much better than anything we buy.

Tonight, my husband and I sliced and bagged a case of nectarines. I can't wait to pull them out in the dead of winter and enjoy the sweet goodness on some ice cream or in a smoothie. And they taste even better when I remember that we worked together.

I remember working with my sisters a few years ago. Dad had a bumper crop of apples and we decided to get together and do them all in one day. We worked all day with Dad and our husbands helping where they could. At midnight and 150 quarts of applesauce later, my belief in smaller batches was born. We are still trying to finish off that applesauce. And even though I will never do that much in one day again, every time I open a jar, I am tasting yet another sweet summer memory.


Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...

Wow, Stephanie. You take me back to sitting around the kitchen table pitting apricots or coring and peeling apples and stuffing them into jars to be handed to my mother for the remainder of the process.

My mother makes the BEST plum syrup which I sorely miss.

Me, I can fruit in the season there of, but the rest of the year I cook big batches of chili, stew, spaghetti sauce, etc. and can those.

I love your blogs. They really take me back to the farm in Colorado

Stephanie said...

Thanks Candace. I guess there is no telling how other people view what seems to us a boring life.

Tristi Pinkston said...

I have such admiration for you folks who preserve food. The only things I've ever made are jams and pickles because you can boil those and don't have to pressure cook them. Pressure cookers scare me -- I'm always terrified they're going to explode. And then how do you really know you did it right, so you don't end up giving your whole family food poisoning?

Will you write some blogs about that?? :)

Mandi said...

MMM...sounds delicious! And I'm sure glad for all the hard work you put into canning everytime you treat us to one of your homemade creations! You are one talented girl!

Stephanie said...

Tristi, blogs about pressure canning or giving the whole family food poisening? Actually I haven't done either. The pressure cooking thing makes me nervous as well.

Mandy, Thanks. You are making me blush.

ali said...

Wow Stephanie. That sounds so beautiful, so idyllic to me. I've never canned anything but what I've done at the dry pack cannery. I haven't ever experienced the boredom, nor the sweet remembrances. But you make it sound so lovely. I wish I could give some of those memories to my boys, or even for myself. But I would have no idea where to start.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Ali, Come visit the long lost relatives in Magrath and we will have us a canning day. It isn't hard once you learn how.

Amy said...

Although I wasn't there on "applesauce day", I also have so many memories of canning with the family. I'm trying to keep that alive still, but I'm lacking in a lot of experience. Every year I try to do one thing I haven't done before. That one thing is also usually the only thing I do that year but it leaves me feeling pretty good about my work. Every time I think of or finish one another project I think if you. You inspire me to keep going because your stuff is always so delicious. In fact, I think my next project will be your yummy peaches. I can almost taste them already!

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Mmmmm! I love home canned peaches. Keep trying things and let me know if you come across any great new recipes.

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