Preparing food in the summer and gathering provisions in the harvest (Prov. 6:8) is one occupation that the Stover family predictably pursues every year. With an ever growing family to feed, our gardens and orchards have expanded to help meet the need as have our outside contacts for bulk food and produce. The central hub of bulk food preservation is no place other than the humble kitchen. Predictable and steady activity rules this control center. One day, we are freezing, perhaps canning or dehydrating the next, only to squeeze all three activates inside those four walls a little later. Our kitchen is kept busy from June to October
While many techniques are employed throughout the seasons, freezing is by far our largest system of putting food by although canning and root cellaring follow hard on its heals. We freeze everything from blueberries and peaches to green beans, beets and turkey. Fruit and meat can be frozen raw while vegetables must first be blanched in order to keep well once they find the way to their frozen abode. Fortunately for us, the more mouths that need feeding also results in more hands that need work! Most
Sometimes I help pick green beans, well, hardly ever. I have to snap lots of green beans, that's not to say I like it, but it has to be done. I snap great big monsterous bowls full of beans every year.
One day towards the end of the year we worked up beets. After pulling them from the garden and scrubbing them up at the outdoor faucet, we baked them. Beets cook slowly. We let them cool for a very long time before working them up so they won't burn our fingers. To skin the beets we (littler children) grabbed them with our hands and slipped the skins off. The next person would cut them into bite size chunks for freezing. The beet juice stained our hands bright red. Once when Dad walked through he said 'I have caught you red handed.' There was nothing we could say. I have thought of that every time we have worked up beets since!
I made basil pesto this year. We had lots of basil plants in our garden to be picked. I liked it best when there was only one big bowl full of leaves for me to make into pesto each day. I used our blender to puree the basil, oil, garlic and nuts together. When that was done, I mixed in parmesan cheese and then I had to taste it to see if I had put in enough cheese. If so I measured it into containers and labeled them so that we would know they were pesto. Then I would carry it down to the freezer and put it in so that we could enjoy it during the winter.
Spinach is a very hardy plant, it is up before almost anything else and when planted again in the fall, is stays till after everything else is done. Like most vegetables it has its good years and it has bad years, (This was a bad year.) I don't like washing spinach after a rain storm because the rain spatters dirt all over the leaves and it takes longer to wash.
The main thing we do with spinach is to eat it in salads and to freeze it, but we also use it in meatballs. I like spinach.
Early in the morning (before I wake up) Nathanael and Zechariah go with Dad to pick corn at the farmer's field. We shuck it and bring the big bowls full of ears into the house. Our great big maple syrup pots work good for boiling the corn. After the corn has cooled off in the sinks of cold water we pile them on the counter and everyone works them up. I help by cutting the corn (along with my brothers and sisters help) off of the cobs. While sometimes we either listen to a tape or someone reads a book to us. One person boils the corn, one person bags it, one person reads the book and everyone else cuts it. Sometimes I help by carrying the corn cobs out and dumping them on the compost heap. It is heavy work but I kind of like it.
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