The toils of loving garden labor have yielded fuel for a secondary hobby I started dabbling in last year: canning. I have searched many a website and have read many a book learning about canning, preserving, and even drying garden produce. I tried many different recipes in my initial attempts at these methods, many successful and some not! This year, my garden has finally yielded enough spring goodness for me to pick back up and continue the craft! Today's endeavor: beets!
Three pounds of scarlet-red lovelies
To launch the canning season(s), I am trying pickled beets from Put 'Em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton. There were actually two versions, and I settled on the more traditional recipe with dill and white vinegar. The prep would have been easy had it not been for my two little darlings, who forced me to stretch it out over several days. However, they made up for it this afternoon, allowing for the resolution of this 4-pint project!
Funny thing about sleeping babies and old-fashioned projects... they allow your mind to wander while you loose yourself in the task. I found myself thinking about the past, and the countless mothers and grandmothers who performed the same chores that I was fumbling through for generation after generation. What really got me thinking, however, was the contrast in circumstances.
I was filled with a sense of appreciation for the hard work of ancestors who, let's be honest, got us all to where we are now. How amazing is it that, while I garden and can as a hobby, not two or three generations ago families relied on that work to make it through the year? It's not a big deal if my seeds don't germinate or I accidentally let something bolt or go bad, it's just a learning experience for the next season. My family won't starve, be malnourished, or miss a rent payment because of it.
Then I started looking around... I was able to steal this nap time to pickle my beets with peace of mind because I could glance at my digital monitor and know instantly the status of my babies. I was able to procrastinate up to today because the beets I picked last week were safely resting in my ice cold refrigerator. I was able to accomplish my chore because I could push a button and instantly have heat under my pots and pans, I could clean up in a few minutes by throwing everything in my dishwasher, and I could do it all in relative comfort because my air conditioner was working to keep my kitchen cool. Heck, I could also simultaneously do a few loads of laundry, too.
There is so much to be thankful for, and still so much taken for granted. What a beautiful life we have today because of the hard work of so many people before us, and how quickly we forget that hard work... and how to do it!
What started out as an afternoon bent on completing a procrastinated project turned in to a reflective, reverent, and humbling moment for me as a mother and as a homemaker... all at the hands of a few pounds of beets!