preserving ~ a way of life


cherries on the bush after a rain ripe for picking!

with encouragement from my mom and sister-in-law ~ the queens of preserving, i tackled my first ever batch of nanking cherry jelly yesterday ... and i dunno if it would win prizes at the fair, but my boys sure liked the results!



it would have been nice to have sunshine to shine through my almost clear jelly but it's a rainy day monday, so the lamp had to do for this, the ultimate 'jelly test' ...


you may already do the can-can or perhaps you, too will some day discover the pure satisfaction in preserving ... in the meantime, if you are over this way, do stop in for toast, jam and tea ... on me!


life is a bowlful of cherries when you have sweet jelly to share ...

so grateful to uncanny at adventures in my freezer, i had a step-by-step no fail recipe to follow!


and now for a little reading pleasure on this age old process ...


Preserving ~ A Way of Life
By Emma Hayes

In a pickle? Stuck in a situation that’s got you in a real jam? Rest assured, this is always the case in canning season when the fruits and veggies simply abound and tempt us to be preserved. Arduous as it may seem at the moment, with everything needing to be picked and dealt with right away, relish the thought of pulling the fruits of your labour from the neatly stocked pantry and freezer on a blustery winter day. After all, that’s what it’s all about, right? Imagine savouring a spoonful of sweet raspberry topping on a slice of cake or a dish of ice cream in the middle of winter, having it taste as though you’ve just squeezed a berry from the bush. True bliss. That’s why we haste to the bushes and the fields and the gardens to gather the bounty and can, jam, freeze, pickle and jelly ourselves silly from now ‘til freeze-up!
For some of us, the art of canning and preserving is slipping us by. Perhaps the busy way of life is creeping in on a way of life that originated from necessity. My mother has put up some of the most beautiful preserves, as a way to help feed her family economically, as a way to provide the best homegrown foods throughout the year, and as a way to carry on the tradition of her mother. In my grandparents day, “putting up” fruits and vegetables for winter stock was an essential part of basic food preservation. Present day cravings for fruits and pickles may be satisfied with a simple trip to the nearest supermarket. Sadly, something very real is missing in the mega production of the supermarket fare. It’s the personal touch and the exquisite fresh taste that comes with a jar of jelly made in the kitchen of someone you know or love.
How do we preserve this way of life? Who is going to teach us this wonderful trade of preserving? Hands on preserving with someone you know who has plenty of experience and the necessary equipment would be ideal, plus it’s an excellent way to visit and spend time together! Before you know it, you’ll be the expert with a long list of family and friends begging for another jar and to have your techniques passed on.
If time or resources have kept you from the kitchen during canning season, take heart that the farmers markets are usually brimming with many homemade delights for you to take home to your pantry. If a garden or fruit trees are inaccessible to you, the farmer’s market or the pick-your-own sites are excellent spots to gather up what you need. Keep in mind that the freshest produce will surely help in bringing you the best results! Remember that there are also excellent resources at your local library as well.
May you be as cool as a cucumber, may the crunch be with you and may you thoroughly enjoy this wonderful way of life.

Let’s clarify something ~
Always wondering what the difference is between a jam and a jelly? A preserve and marmalade? Jam: made from chopped or pureed fruit ~ not as firm as jelly. Jelly: made from clear fruit juices and the end product is more like gelatin. My mom always says that a good jelly is very clear and not cloudy. Marmalade: a jelly with bits of citrus fruit throughout. Preserves: whole fruits or large fruit pieces in fruit syrup. Pickles? Well, that’s a sweet or spicy or crispy discussion for another day!

9 comments:

Deidra said...

Congratulations on persevering through your preserving adventures! We've got similar thoughts today, it would seem!

knack said...

I would do anything to stop by your place for some cherry jam and toast! Congrats on getting all of it done! :)

Joyce said...

Happy Cherries! I love cherries. I have been wanting to give canning a try, but a little scared to tackle it. xoxo

Simply Mel said...

Great post, my friend! I would love to stop by and have some of your preserves.

I plan to tackle this preserving road one day soon...and now you might have just given me the courage to begin this week.

Maria said...

Hi! I just popped over from Deidra's...
I MUST learn to can! My jellies are of the freezer kind...
It's a must for me this year!
The cherry preserves look AMAZING!
I also like your 'fess up' list in the previous post... GUILTY of all 9 you listed and my #10 would definitely have to be use a hairbrush for a microphone ...come to think of it...whatever works!
all the best, Maria

My name is PJ. said...

I love me some cherries! This looks wonderful and I so appreciate anything that harkens back to the days of yore.

Prairie Girl Studio said...

deidra ~
thanks so much oh kindred preserver ~ xo
. . .
knack ~
thanks and please know the kettle is always on! xo
. . .
joyce ~
i love cherries, too and just couldn't let these beauties go to waste ... do try canning ... if i can do it, so can you! xo
. . .
simply mel ~
thanks always! i would love to share my preserves with you ~ it was such a gratifying day, even though i confess to reading the recipe 10 times before beginning .... and then each step 10 times to make sure i was doing it right! i know you definitely have the courage ... xo
. . .
hi maria! welcome and thanks for visiting and commenting! i was hoping to make raspberry freezer jam as well, but ran out of sugar ... no wonder we love these preserves! i hope you do try preserving ~ a great feeling! and lol as well at the hairbrush for a mic ... cool. xo
. . .
hi pj! the whole act of preserving really is something to be appreciated, isn't it? coming by for tea? xo

pve design said...

I have such fond memories of my Grandma canning and then in the midst of winter biting into a crispy pickle or taking delight in a sweet jelly on toast makes me think of those that took pleasure in saving for a rainy day or a day set aside to can.
I have my jars at the ready!
pve

Prairie Girl Studio said...

mmm ... crispy pickles indeed ... mouthwatering! thanks so much for visiting pve and sharing your memories ~
pg xo