Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer Homesteading: Sweet as Honey

Some things are genetic, I suppose. Like getting overzealous at a good locally grown crop of tomatoes. When my sister learned of my tomato bounty, she loaded up Big L and little l and headed south for a 24-hour food preservation whirlwind.

Big B and little b could just hardly stand it, waiting for their arrival.They came bearing tomato-trading gifts: four quarts of frozen blueberries they'd picked this spring, two jars each of homemade strawberry and blueberry jam, vidalia onions from a u-pick on the way to our house, and potatoes fresh from their garden.We spent twelve straight hours in the kitchen processing our harvest. This is one of two five-gallon containers of tomato puree!
We canned 18 quarts (about 50 pounds) of herbed tomato sauce and 12 pints of yellow tomato and tomatillo salsa, leaving us each with about 25 pounds of tomatoes to bring home.The next morning, Aunt S revealed the four frames of honey she'd brought from her hives to show Big B and little b how it was bottled.The honey glistened like gold as she scraped the beeswax from the comb.Big B got a turn scraping the honeyed wax......and little b got a turn eating the honeyed wax!
When the frames were emptied there were several containers of sweet golden wildflower honey on our dining room table.Aunt S poured all of the honey and wax into a large bucket fitted with a filter to catch the comb, squeezing out as much of the deliciousness as she could.
We left the bucket o' honey bathing in the sun while we took a quick dip in the ocean. When we returned, it was ready to pour into jars. And in case I haven't mentioned it, this is by far the most delicious honey I've ever tasted.
A quick visit with very little money spent yielded a feast of homegrown goodness for two families. Canning and processing is hard, fast-paced work, but there is so much love poured into each jar, and so much peace of mind knowing where every single ingredient comes from. This is one lesson that radical homemakers are re-learning, one that our elders know all too well. As one wise woman said to my sister upon seeing the many mason jars in her shopping cart: "I kinda feel sorry for you, and I kinda feel envious of you at the same time."


Rose said...

Fantastic!! Looks like a fun and busy day. I think if I'd had a fun helper in the kitchen, I'd have taken advantage of the tomatoes! And HONEY?! Your sister is almost as awesome as you are!

kollene carlsson said...

WOW!!!!!! This is so fantastic!!! such good wholesome fun!

Meredith Shadwill said...

If only I had a set of wheels or a place to make a garden... I think I need to get to work on creating that patio/ balcony garden. I want fresh, home-grown tomatoes. I can eat them all by themselves -- no need to cook, add to salad, or anything like that. Of course, I love them in salad and as sauces and salsas, but they're just so delicious. =)