Saturday, June 5, 2010
In celebration of rhubarb.
For as long as I can remember, preserving the harvest has been a ritual of summer. Sometimes it was picking beans with my grandmother (and my disgruntled brother) to prepare for freezing, other times it involved taking a family roadtrip to the Niagara region to pick apricots and peaches for canning and making into jam. So many vivid memories stay with me about these events.....the feeling of climbing the ladder to reach the best fruit, the smell of beans being blanched, green fingers from shelling way too many peas, peaches and apricots lining every square inch of surface space to avoid bruising before their final voyage into jars.
The experience was so formative that I imagine I would feel incomplete if a summer passed with no preserving. Rhubarb is my starting point. This week my rhubarb plant in my tiny garden plot was in full glory. Now, there is stewed rhubarb in my freezer, rhubarb cake in the cupboard and enough rhubarb saved to add with strawberries for jam. It is a small thing, but it makes me feel just a wee bit self-sufficient, and also provides me with a tangible link to my past, my roots and my childhood. Not to mention, it tastes really good in the middle of winter.