Alrighty now....hold on to your broomsticks...we be jammin now!!!
Wow, I never imagined myself having a blog before. The closest I thought I would ever come is my Facebook page but here I am, a BLOGGER!
Recently I've had an itch to get closer to my roots and re-capture that warm fuzzy feeling I remember so well from my childhood. I spent lots of time growing up in the company of my paternal grandmother, MaBert, even living with her at times, and with her mother, my Grannie. I grew up out in the country in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near the border of South and North Carolina. I miss those mountains dearly, and have been yearning to reconnect in some way and I think I have found it!
One of my fondest memories, from childhood, is climbing into the station wagon with Mabert and driving out into the community to deliver her goodies. Most times it was to an old farmhouse in the mountains or maybe to an elderly person's little house. We would get out and she would select a few jars of canned goods or maybe a pound cake and we would sit and "visit" with the person on their porch for a bit. Sometimes she knew them, sometimes she knew "of" them and sometimes they were new to the area. Either way, she always left them smiling and her heart was warmed cause we did something good. In later years, I wondered and questioned why she was always so giving and selfless why was she not "taken advantage of" like happens so much now. It was just her way...she NEVER judged anyone and truely believed in people. Maybe it was the times (it was the late 70's ya know) or maybe it was the area, I don't know. On my last phone call with her just 2 weeks ago she did mention how things were so different now...things are not like they used to be and even there, in her community, safety is now a concern where it never used to be. ::sigh:: I long for the good ole days.
Mabert and Grannie were the nurturers for the family...two generations of true matriarchs. I have big shoes to fill and now that I am in my 40's it's my time to shine. I do not visit nor see that side of my family...I have my own family now and we live here, in out little cottage style house about 2 miles from the beach in sunny Florida. Thinking back, I spent many days in Mabert's basement with both of them (Mabert had a full 2nd kitchen in the finished basement for entertaining and specifically for canning, freezing, preserving and storing the things from the orchard and 2 full gardens that she and my Papa worked year-round) watching them can. I was taught at an early age to fear/respect the pressure cooker. Mabert got some pretty bad burns, as did other ladies she knew, but it never kept her from doing it again. I know that pressure cookers have changed and are much safer these days but for now, I am starting with the hot water bath canning method which is perfect for jams and jellies. I will work my way to pressure canning in good time...heck Grannie was still using hers to can when they took it out of her house in her late 90's. I have plenty of time to get to that method!
So, in my quest to reconnect with my roots, I begin my canning journey with jams, jellies and preserves. I am in the process of collecting all the recipes I want to try...I have 25 typed into my database so far with more to go. I did my first batch of jam, ever, on Sunday August 15. It was a small batch of peach and a small batch of sweet cherry. One with pectin and one without...that's them pictured above! As soon as I was finished I knew I was hooked and couldn't wait to find another recipe to try. The next two jams weren't as good though and I've learned a lot since then (like to put white vinegar in the canner to prevent the white residue left on the jars from our hard water) and will learn more with each batch. I hope to be able to put some jam up (Mabert's terminology shining through) 2 - 3 times a month and I will share my experiences and recipes with you along the way. Who knows...maybe a cookbook will be my end result!
Make sure to check back often and leave feedback too! I know the peach and cherry are already gone...poof! Shared with family and friends, that's my purpose, ya know. If you do get to try one of them, please remember to return the empty jar and I will make sure to send it back refilled with another bit of sweetness and love straight from my hearth to yours.
Wishing you sweet bountiful blessings of this harvest season that is upon us...till next time!