A Legacy Not Lost….

Towards the end of the summer I was in a panic! I was almost out of canning jars.  In fact I was headed to my local farm store later in the day to get more when I received a phone call. I was butt deep in the garden so I didn’t answer. I eventually called my friend back and he asked if I was interested in some jars.  A distant relative was moving out of her house and moving in with her daughter and needed to get rid of all her jars.  Of course I was on it in a hot minute.

When I arrived I was in awe. The garage was full of shelving that contained years of canned goods. There was pretty much anything and everything there. I told the people who I was and who had sent me. They apologized for the jars being full and told me I’d have to empty them myself.

They started piling the jars in boxes and started loading my SUV until it was completely full and couldn’t hold anymore.

 

The woman’s daughter asked me what I needed all the jars for. I informed her that I would be using them to can things from my own harvests, as her mother had done. She then asked me to come in and talk to her mother. I walked into the house, now empty of just about everything, and saw a small woman with a homemade dress and a neat bun on top of her head. I introduced myself and told her thank you and what my plans were for the jars.

A petite  elderlywoman rose and walked over to me, she put one hand in mine and the other on my face. She told me, “Thank you for taking the jars and using them the right way. I worked very hard to provide for my family the only way I knew how. They have no idea how much love is in each one of those jars”.

A lump rose in my throat. Again I thanked her and told her I promised I would take care of the jars and their contents and I quickly left.

I took the jars to the farm. Unloaded them into a shed and went through them. If they were too old, I put the contents in a bucket and fed them to the hogs. The rest of the jars were put away for safe keeping and eating.

IF there is a lesson from my story, it is that I realized that my lifestyle of homesteading and food preservation is important, but it’s also my way to show others that I care about them. I care to spend the time and give them the very best. I also realized how important it is to carry this tradition on to others and my own children.  The way was paved for me by many women in homemade dresses and buns doing what they could to make sure their family was cared for and it makes it all worth while.

Frozen Fruit Snacks

 

Our family goes in “Banana spurts”. If I buy a few pounds sometimes they inhale them in one day and other times no one will touch one for a week and they start to turn brown. I used to make lots and lots of banana bread or muffins, but let’s be real, it can get old and I end up throwing out the banana bread too.  If you know me I’m kind of a food preservation nut had to throw anything away, so here is what we do now, and it’snot just bananas!

Freezing Bananas

On a cookie sheet, place wax paper. Chop up bananas into 1 and 2 inch pieces. Place on the cookie sheet careful not to put a cut side down on the wax paper. Put into the freezer until hard (about 3 hours).

Take the piece carefully off of the wax paper (no one wants a fruit snack with a side of wax paper), and place into freezer bags. Put the bags back into the freezer until ready to eat. The bananas will not stick to each other and you can pull them out one piece at a time to munch on, put into a smoothie, or as my girls like it to dip in chocolate or peanut butter.

 

Not Just Bananas

Another great way that I freeze fruit is doing something similar is with grapes. In fact the frozen grapes are a favorite quick snack in our house for everyone.  I have been known to also do this with strawberries, mangoes, and pineapple.

I also feel that this is a lesson to my family about not wasting things. Sometimes I won’t even buy fresh fruit and when they go looking for it, I encourage them to use what is in the freezer.  Snacking can be healthy and not wasteful! What have you tried? What works for you and your family?