Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Fruitful Season for The Veggie Queen

I am about more than just vegetables. I am into all plant foods. This year there has been a bumper crop of fruit. Luckily I know a number of people that have trees and have been able to harvest all manner of fruit from peaches and plums to grapes, apples, pears and Asian pears, and I can't forget the figs. At times I have been overwhelmed with all of it. And at other times I have been thrilled to open my refrigerator and find a jar of homemade applesauce with cinnamon, as if someone else made it for me. (Ask me about my 5 minute pressure-cooked applesauce.)

The rhythm of the season is in full swing. I am sure that when canning was at its peak, mothers didn't have to leave their boiling pots to shuttle their kids from one activity to another. The Moms stayed at their task, cooking and canning until the project was done. But now, it doesn't work that way and with the advent of the modern freezer, sometimes canning doesn't seem worth it. Although unlike many people I do not have an extra freezer or refrigerator, so back to the jars and lids. If it doesn't fit in the space available, then I must can to preserve the harvest.

Pulling a bag of peaches out of the freezer mid-winter to make a tart, crisp or compote is a touch of sunshine in a sometimes bleak season. When I am up to my elbows in peaches on a hot summer's day, though, it's hard to think of winter and the enjoyment to come. There is always the dilemma that summer fruit brings but this year it has been exaggerated.

My wish and hope is that everyone can enjoy the bounty of the season in its abundance. And to that end, I hope to get some fruit dried in a solar dryer (built by a friend) so that I can have yet one more way to preserve the harvest for the coming months. It worked in the past and I have faith that it will continue to keep me satisfied in the future.

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