Call me crazy, but today was the first day ever that I bottled some of my home grown produce. Yes in all my years, I’ve never bottled anything – I grew up with my Mum pickling onions, and making her own goods. And then I grew up, moved out of home, and forgot about it completely.

But not today, my dear friend Janet, who makes her own wonderful chutneys and preserves gave us a great little book by Isabel Webb : 5-Minute Microwave Bottling. And boy has this opened up my eyes…..

So I made some plum jam, worked out very well. Now I’ve pickled some of our cucumbers – hardly putting a dent into the crop. And my next project will be Beetroot and Tomato Chutney. All with the microwave, some glass jars I’ve been putting away, and some time. Not a lot of time, because my child is on school holidays, which means it’s a constant fridge opening experience, and I have fifteen minute blocks before he decides he needs some more food or pens or paper or running outside chasing the dog or the dog and him chasing the cat….. And I managed to pickle the cucumbers inside of that block of time – not bad hey?

I think of all the time and effort my Mum put into putting up her preserves, and think of how amazed she would be now. She grew up through the depression, and then started her family at the end of World War Two, not exactly times of bounty. And so as I worked today I thought of how incredibly bountiful we first world inhabitants have it. We just rock up to a supermarket and buy fruit and vegetables grown from all around the world, twenty four seven, with no thought of where these come from. And then complain when the tomatoes don’t taste like they used to, or any of the other first world problems that come from living outside the seasons of nature.

So these cucumbers I’ve pickled, will be enjoyed when the last of the cucumber vines have been removed, and the chickens next door will have feasted on the last of the vines. And for a small time, we’ll have a part of the wonderful summer harvest of vegetables still available to my small family.


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