Memories…that’s what life is all about. My mom told me that other day as I was headed out of town for a birthday weekend in Las Vegas. It sounds funny, but I was reminded of some of the responses we received from our e-newsletter contest last month because really, whether you’re partying in Vegas or bonding with your family in the kitchen, the memories we make with each other stay with us our whole lives.
We asked our readers to tell us why they love preserving, (or why they would like to start) and were overwhelmed by the touching responses we received.
Our winner, Amanda from Mississippi, said this:
“I grew up watching my mother and grandmother preserving fruits and vegetables. I remember going with them and picking the fruits and vegetables from our gardens and trees. I loved the way we would all go together and the closeness I felt toward both of them. When we came home I would help to clean the fruits and vegetables and sit at the table watching as they cleaned the jars, then boiled them. I also loved how wonderful the kitchen smelled, so warm, comforting and filled with love. I would carefully help them carry the jars to our basement where there was a big shelf made especially for the jars to sit on. The colors in the jars were so beautiful and almost looked like jewels. I did more to help as I grew older and when I became a mom and wife myself, the first thing I did was to plant a garden and preserve vegetables. My grandmother would come over and help as would my mother, bringing fruit and memories.
When my grandmother was gone, my mom would come over and I loved the memories of the three of us when I was a little girl. I lost my mom last December and this will be the first time I will not have her to help make preserves with me. I will have my daughter though, who will be helping me for the first time. I will tell her all the stories of myself, my mother and grandmother and together we will make our own memories to add to them. Preserving to me means love, tradition and something special which binds us all together forever.”
We had so many wonderful responses, it was hard to choose a winner so I sort of created a “runner-up.” Maria from Michigan sent us this response:
“In our fast paced, stress-filled society, preserving the harvest becomes an opportunity to step back into a time when simple joys brought deep satisfaction and abundance that could be enjoyed by everyone in the family and with gifts to neighbors and friends as well. As a young girl during WWII, I remember the excitement and patriotic joy of planting our Victory Gardens, delighting in the beauty of the harvest, and enjoying my special time with everyone in the family as we “put up” the wonderful fruits and vegetables we had raised in a variety of delectable recipes: jams, jellies, spiced fruits and relishes, sauces, and individual jeweled jars of tomatoes, peaches, pears, etc. The garden offered us exercise, entertainment and good health.
Now as a 74 year old military widow remembering my past, I continue to look forward to the joy of the harvest and all the aromas and beauty of the harvest season. I continue to enjoy the peaceful pleasure of the canning process and the satisfaction of viewing the collected assortment of homemade delicacies just waiting to be enjoyed during the coming Michigan winter or given as small gifts to my sons as additions to their holiday tables. Preserving the harvest becomes a visit to happy memories of the past and anticipation of a delicious future.”
A big thank you to Amanda and Maria for sharing their special memories with us! Amanda received a home preserving kit, and Maria will receive one of our Partridge in a Pear Tree ornaments, plus some other pear goodies. Thanks to everyone who replied, and don’t forget to sign up to receive our e-newsletters – we love to reward our pear-loving readers!