• Sharon Shirk

Harvest Preserves

We love the summer time of year here in Lancaster County. There is so much produce and fruit and garden specials to be enjoyed and picked up almost anywhere. Roadside stands and markets and farms and home gardens are producing everything from tomatoes, cucumbers, red beets, peppers, grapes, peaches and apples. Mouthwatering watermelon and cantaloupes that very soon will be followed by cabbage and cauliflower, and broccoli in abundance.

Phase II: Turning cooked tomatoes into spicy tomato soup

tomato juice

No wonder then to find out that lots of people do home-canning projects and my daughter and I have done our share this year. With all the talk about putting up food for the winter and making sure to have non-perishables around. Not a new idea for this county. This is something we’ve done for generations. I learned it from my mother who learned it from her mother and now my daughters are doing it as well.

So far this year, we’ve canned peaches and pickles and our own tomato juice. We have frozen enough sweet corn to last the winter. And frozen whole strawberries and strawberry jam, and blueberries and peaches for great winter yogurt parfaits and fruit smoothies. And we really haven’t spent that much money cause this time of year prices are reasonable and garden variety abundant.

Pickled Dilly Beans

Even though it is still warm and the roadside stands are still selling…It’s a great feeling to be prepared for winter. With fall being just around the corner, the time of year when the opportunity of walking to the garden for a tomato, lettuce and green pepper for your salad is almost over. We’ll be reaching into the freezer or canning shelves soon enough to satisfy taste buds that are used to home-grown and home-made quality.

I love serving our guests from our storehouse of plenty. Along with fresh baked bread from my sister’s bakery, and my own frozen strawberry jam, add a hot egg dish and a yogurt parfait finished with blueberries and peaches – offering our guests the homemade quality and taste that we enjoy year round.

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