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August 24, 2016


Ellie Enos

After my grandmother(Ruby) died at 82, we divided up the jars of apricot-pineapple jam that were in the last batch she put up. The jam was a symbol of our inheritance from her. She taught us to appreciate food, to use all our resources wisely, and to make food and share it with family, friends, and those in need.

Ruby's progeny continue to follow her example. Her daughter(Aggie) was freezing apricots for future spreads and cobblers this summer. Her grandson (Ty) makes killer green tomato pickles and Cornish lemon curd. Her great grand daughter (Bri) made apricot curd and whiskey peach jam this summer. Ashton (one of the older great, great grand sons) used the family cookbook to make Scottish short bread cookies.

When I was in elementary school I stayed with my grandmother during the summer. She let me help gather the apricots, peel and dice the fruit, stir the jam and skim off the foam. Then we could see the results of our labor lined up on the counter. Those memories and examples last long after our loved ones are gone.

Elaine Viets

You are so right, Ellie. Food is love, and my grandmother gave us that love every year, but this version we could taste.

Karen in Ohio

My youngest daughter, almost 29 now, started canning and preserving food from her own garden two years ago. She loves to give me pickles and other things she's canned, which delights me.

I've only been canning for a few years myself. My mother didn't do it, and a friend had to help me the first time. It's very satisfying to, as you say, have the jeweled jars lined up in the cupboard.

Sally Schmidt

I still regret that I never learned to make my grandmother's grape jelly. I took it for granted: the grape vines were along the side of the driveway and there was always another jar of jelly in the cupboard. I didn't even realize until years later that Concord grapes weren't that easy to find, at least where I live in California.

But those stewed tomatoes, what was up with the bread? Ugh.

Elaine Viets

That's a nice reversal, Karen -- let the kids make canned goods for you. I envy you your cupboard of treasures.

Elaine Viets

I'm sorry I never learned to cook like my grandmother, Sally. She wanted me to go to college, and told me not to bother. I realized too late I should have had both skills -- home cooking and college.

Mare Fairchild

Wow, you brought back some amazing memories for me. Hauling jars up and down the basement stairs, picking fruit, and the dreaded stewed tomatoes. LOL. We are very much on the same page there. I do some canning, but I'm just revisiting the craft after a few years away. Thank you for this!

Elaine Viets

Picking blackberries was hot, Mare,especially since we had to cover everything and wear a cloud of bug repellent. But warm blackberries off the vine were the best. Glad you're relearning this art. Many of the so-called "women's" arts and crafts are only being appreciated now.

Karen in Ohio

Elaine, I've been picking blackberries at our Kentucky farm, where they run wild, for the last few years. It IS hot, inevitably, and buggy, too. But so worth it.

Elaine Viets

Oh, yeah. The blackberry patch across from my grandmother's house is gone. The whole area is now subdivisions houses.

Susan Neace

Actually I liked stewed tomatoes with bread mixed in, although in my home it was sweetened a bit. I watched my mother pour hot tomato sauce from the big kettle into the jars and I was in awe of the fact that she didn't spill a drop on her light pink blouse.

Elaine Viets

Pouring tomato sauce is a skill I don't have, Susan. Even eating spaghetti is risky.

Karen Grace

Just catching up - a day late & dollar short, as usual. Elaine,your memories almost match my own. What they didn't have in their garden was supplemented by the truck gardeners out Lemay Ferry & Telegraph Rds. My favorites were Grandma's bread & butter pickles, and CARROTS!! I wish I had her canned carrots recipe. Oh, and apple butter!

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