It is that time of year again. Huge zucchinis are available at the market and our favourite pickles involve zucchinis and other vegetables. I make the supply for the next year when these vegetables are at their peak and the cheapest they will be all year; these days, I am busy with preserves.
My interest in preserves comes from my Newfoundland heritage. Every fall, Newfoundland women around the bays and coves made jams, pickles, and jellies. Moose, caught in the fall, was preserved to make delicious stews for the family during the winter months. Open a bottle of moose meat and before long you had a delicious meal.
On our recent visit to Macphail Woods in eastern Prince Edward Island, I spotted a chokecherry tree. I couldn't resist trying some of the ruby berries.
It brought me back to my youth, when we picked every berry imaginable and Mom made jam or jelly for the next year. The cherry jelly was delicious. No fruit today could live up to my memories of that chokecherry jelly.
Then there were raspberries and blueberries of course.
Today there are u-picks on Prince Edward Island for these fruits and picking is so easy.
In my youth, we picked in the woods around Mount Pearl, my home town, or Maddox Cove where my grandparents lived. The raspberries were the hardest to pick because the plants loved plowed over areas where it was difficult to walk. Besides, bees and wasps loved these areas and more than once we had to deal with stings or tipped over berries due to our effort to escape the stinging creatures. The travails associated with raspberries made the jam all the more tasty.
The Newfoundland berries, bakeapples
were highly sought after as well. They are known as cloudberries and lingonberries in other parts of the world. Mom spoke of the partidgeberries which didn't need to be jammed since they could be kept in a barrel over the winter. She and her family picked sacks of them every September along the rocky shoreline.
The importance of these preserves cannot be over estimated. The jams and jellies were important sources of vitamin C during the winter months. Berry preserves were important to the health of the family.
Today, our family doesn't eat much jam. However, I make pickles and salsa, savoury treats instead. I completed the third batch of pickles over the long weekend and the recipe is below. We don't buy pickles and hate to run out of these preserves before a new batch is made every September.
Now, to finish the year's supply of salsa...