Being the old fashioned type, Ol' Myrt here loves to make jams when the fruit is in season. Long time readers will perhaps recall my several jam-making blog entries.
Well, just before Mr. Myrt and I left for our home back east, two of my daughters asked me to assist them with canning peaches for the first time. You'll find a full report from Carrie, my youngest, in HER blog entry titled Sweet as a Peach. (I didn't realize she had taken as many pictures as she did!)
In this high-tech world, my busy girls wanted to learn how their great-gramma Myrtle managed to put up fruit.
|The "first fruits" of our labor last month.|
It's interesting how each generation chooses to embrace the traditions of the past while factoring in new options available as time marches on.
My mother was ever the modern housewife during the post-WWII days of the 1950s and prosperous 1960s. Convenience foods were all the rage, freeing women to do other things. Mom excelled at the local Old Farm Garden Club. At Christmas she would work with the open houses, and once had me make 20 or 30 tiny parchment scrolls of Christmas carols, to decorate a friend's tree. (That was some project for me as a teenager -- but I loved calligraphy, so what the heck.) I do remember her letting me, as a young child, help her make red jell-o. She encouraged me, as a teenager, to make cookies from scratch -- something I loved to do with my younger siblings. (Does anyone have the recipe for crushed pineapple with slivered almond cookies?)
|Stacey, Carrie, Ol' Myrt and Tam at my Utah home.|
Now my daughters run households of their own (but amazingly, I haven't aged a bit!) They have fancy upright, frost-free freezers, buy things in bulk from Costco, and make sure my grandkids are served a full complement of nutritious foods. Tam has become a Master Gardener and tends great big square-foot gardening boxes on her acreage in northern Utah.
Why they wanted to can peaches, I don't know. Maybe it was to control the sugar in the canning juice for two diabetics in the family? (We can now purchase peaches in light syrup, you know.) Maybe they couldn't pass up a good deal (46 cents a pound) on bulk peaches at the food co-op. I don't know. I wasn't going to worry, and I decided not to hold back or question their motives.
I was thrilled to pull out some of my canning recipes, the old water bath canner, jar gripper, and such to teach them what I remembered seeing my grandmother do. AND, it was now my turn to share with them Gramma Myrtle's secret family recipe for preserves. (I swore them to secrecy and everything!)
Each generation interprets family traditions...
- Grandma Myrtle canned fruits and some vegetables, (some home grown, others purchased at the local farmer's market). Store-bought foods from the local Piggly Wiggly became the norm during her later life. She made wonderful sweet gherkins and also watermelon pickles.
- My mother shopped for convenience foods at the Super Giant on Rockville Pike, and used her free time to pursue gardening & decorating interests.
- I learned to grow my own veggies and make fruit leather, but settled for making jam and pies more than anything else. I now shop at Super Giant for fresh produce and lean meats.
- My daughters learned to put up peaches using the same water bath canner I've had for years. They bottled peach halves and made lots of peach jam, but elected to do more freezing than canning. They like to make healthy frozen fruit smoothies in their blenders for breakfast.
|Tyler's 1st day of pre-school 2010.|
I am thrilled that the food preservation"know how" (at least of the peachy variety) is getting passed down to this younger generation.
It was a blast watching my grandchildren participate. The littlest, Tyler, kept reminding me to put the lid back on the jar of lemon juice. We'd shoo them outside, as my grandmother had shooed me, when it was time to pull the jars out of the canner.
Everything old is new again.
Happy family tree climbing!
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