I’ve been busy…

10 jars of peach jam (the 10th one is already in the refrigerator. I think peach is the new favorite!)
5 loaves of bread
16 pints of diced tomatoes

(the rest of the fruit is what I didn’t get to can today. Grace arranged it nicely for me!)

So far, this is just one big learning adventure. Jam is ridiculously easy, and so is bread (if you have a wheat grinder and a bosch mixer!), but tomatoes were a bit more iffy for me. They are right on the border of “not acidic enough,” which scares me. All the books said that adding lemon juice would do the trick, but there’s always that “what if” that runs through my mind.

I wish I had a place that I could display all my hard work… something like this… but we don’t. Now that our dishwasher passed over into the great beyond, perhaps my husband can take that space and turn it into a walk-in pantry.

“But Ouiz! Don’t you miss your dishwasher?”

I do, but then again, we never had one growing up, and with (almost) 3 teenagers in the house, I think we can handle washing dishes. It’s annoying, but not devastating by any stretch of the imagination!

I must say, however, that I have absolutely NO clue how Ma Ingalls did this on a regular basis. Well, for one, she didn’t have nearly the variety of food available that we do today (thank You, Lord!), but the time and effort required to put up food for the winter is simply unfathomable. If my family had to live on what I personally was able to can or freeze, we’d be gnawing on our shoes before the end of October.

My dear friend P has been at this much more wholeheartedly than I have been, and she has put up all sorts of things, from tomatoes, jam, corn, and beans to crowder peas (???), salsa, and spaghetti sauce. I was given a tour of her beautiful pantry this evening, and even with as much work as she has put in (and it has been substantial!) she would not be able to feed her family through the winter. That’s scary.

How did these pioneer women do it?

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