Monday, August 17, 2009

Gathering Chokecherries While We May

The other night in my dreams we collected chokecherries for jelly. We were out by the prison for some crazed reason.

We did this for real when we were kids. Mother was wanting to do this every year. She even got my father involved.

As I recall, one finds them by drivin through the canyon, eyes wildly scanning the scene passing by, looking for chokecherries. Finally, a shoutout, a screeching of brakes, and a hasty veer to the side of the road.

The rest is vague. Mother was probably harvesting, the rest of us trying to look busy. I forget. But finally we must had collected enough, so we'd go home.

Mother would steam them in a muslin bag, drain the juice into a pot and then make jelly.

I don't remember ever appreciating her for all she did, but she did put up fruit like a mad woman every year. I even tributed her for doing this by learning how from a cookbook. It was really pretty easy and very fulfilling to see the lineup of beautifully-colored fruits and vegetables on the counter. I even kept them upstairs on display for awhile because I thought they were so pretty.

During the zucchini-for-everything craze, I made jam out of zucchini and Koolaid, even and made peach-pit jelly as a bonus. No one ever refused any of it either.

Why don't I do it now? Don't know unless it's because we hardly eat at home, or when we do, it's not as formal as it once was. Or maybe it's because we stopped eating bottled fruits and vegetables when Ben left on his mission. Or maybe it's because it is probably as cheap to go "canning" at the case goods sale at Macey's. Plus, here's the kicker: I gave all my canning supplies away just in case I might go nuts and long for the good old days.

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