Late spring/early summer is such a great time of year, simply because it is time for the GARDEN! I absolutely love looking at our dinner table and seeing a colorful spread. The greens, yellows and reds from the garden make me so happy! It is worth the work of picking, digging, raking, etc. And when there is excess, I love canning.
Canning takes me back…growing up, my grandparents (Mamaw and PawPaw) had a huge garden and we would have canning days to put up as much of the vegetables we could so they wouldn’t spoil. I can distinctly remember walking into Mamaw’s kitchen and my eyes burning from the onions and peppers that were going into her homemade picante. She would can everything: tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, okra…the list goes on and on. She would bag up and freeze corn and peas. She used old bread bags as freezer bags when she didn’t have any. Mrs. Baird’s would be full of corn on the cob! And, it didn’t matter that it wasn’t a “freezer bag” because the veggies never stayed in there for long!
Recently, my aunt sent over LOADS of cucumbers and tomatoes…her garden is doing great this year! I called up Mamaw and she and my mom came over and we made pickles and canned the tomatoes. It was SUCH a good day! Mamaw was in heaven! She hasn’t been able to maintain a large garden for the past several years, so this was such a treat for her! It brought back so many good memories, and my kiddos even took turns helping a bit.
I think the best part of living in the country and gardening (besides the amazing food) is that it really is a community effort. Your cucumbers aren’t doing well? Sally down the road has more than she can handle so she sends them your way. Your tomatoes are out of control? You make up baggies and share with all your neighbors, or use them to make salsa and send it out as gifts to your friends. No one is ever mad about receiving something “farm fresh” and it just feels good to be able to provide good food for your family and friends! That’s what Mamaw always did, and I’m glad my mom and I (with the help of others) are keeping up the tradition!