All of my summer memories include growing, weeding, picking,
cooking, canning or freezing food for the winter. Though I wouldn’t admit it
when I was a child, while weeding the garden, I relished the solitude and quiet
sounds of nearby chickens and birds. When peas or beans were ready, I often sat
in our enclosed porch with Mother, while we talked and worked.
Freezing corn was a big affair at our house, even Grandma
and Grandpa came out to help. The men picked the corn and dumped it near the stock
tank. We kids shucked it and carried it to the basement, where Mother had filled
the boiler with water and brought it to a boil on the old kerosene stove. After
it was blanched, we carried it back outside to another boiler Mother had filled
with cold well water. From there, it was back to the basement again, where the
women cut the kernels off the cobs and packaged the corn for freezing. There’s
nothing better in winter than fresh frozen sweet corn. I still freeze corn this
In later years, after I’d married, when we moved to more
urban areas, we would have a garden. We also found a rural vacation spot with
blackberry patches in the woods, and we planned our trips so we could pick ripe
blackberries. We froze some of the berries and made jam with the rest.
My husband is now retired and considers himself a gatherer.
He picks enough blackberries so we can put up about 100 quarts a year. He also
picks up native pecans. While we don’t raise a garden nowadays, we’re able to
find fresh vegetables at the local farmers’ market and ripe fruits at a nearby
orchard. So we still put up our own fruits and vegetables.
Read more about home
canning in Stories of Food Preservation Methods.