Summer In A Jar


 There’s a song that I love called “Canned Goods” by folksinger Greg Brown and it goes like this:   

 “Peaches on the shelf, taters in the bin. Everybody now come on in, taste a little love of summer, taste a little bit of love of summer, taste a little love of summer, Gramma put it all in a jar…”   


Here at Mehaffey Farm we’re busy putting our own summer in a jar. Somehow it feels just right to push against the conventions of modern living and rediscover the simple pleasures in keeping and eating food grown from our own land, that we prepare by our own hands. We’ll have the fruits of summer’s bounty to sustain us in the long dark days ahead.  It may not always be easy to find the time but it comes down to choice. How do you spend your time? We’re making jars of pickles, relishes, sauces, salsas, jams and jellies. We’re stocking up the freezer with bags of tomatoes, broccoli, Herrick’s corn, cut up celery and peppers, basil, filling up the root cellar shelves with ‘taters in the bin, cabbages pulled up by the roots, mounds of winter squash, beets, turnips, rutabaga, onions, carrots in a box of moist sawdust.   

Boiling water for blanching the skins off the tomatoes after a plunge into icy water. Sauteeing lots of garden vegetables to add to the sauce.

Richie's "special sauce:" mostly hot peppers: habanjeros, jalapenos, serranos, cayenne, and cherry peppers from the garden, and only a few tomatoes.

I look at it like this: I don’t drive to the place I work, I walk, saving hours of commuting time each week. I’m using some of that time to put my summer in a jar. Oh, it’s work all right, hours of work, to chop, peel, blanch, fill the bags, prepare the jars, plunge the racks into the canning pot. All time I’m not sitting on the couch passively watching tv. I’m on my feet in the kitchen, and my feet may hurt, but I’m thinking about the future meals these ingredients will flavor, imagining my family and friends around the table, talking and (yes, arguing sometimes,) but mostly laughing. And I ask you again, how do you spend your time? I’m doing exactly what I want to do, “putting a little love of summer in a jar….”  And pretty soon I’m going to be a gramma too!   




Filed under Canning and Preserving

3 responses to “Summer In A Jar

  1. Kathy Reiff

    “pretty soon”…? Is that an official announcement, Maggie?

  2. Leslie Metzger

    I love how great your new stove looks, Maggie–as it is set off by the wonderful reds and greens of all your tomatoes, peppers etc. Makes me hungry for good home cooking!

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