My mother grew up in the ’30s during the depression as a teen and that generation understood the value of using what you had and never throwing away anything that might be needed later. It also meant that you would make or preserve any fruit, vegetable, or meat that was given to you or you had on hand.
My mother would can any type of fruit she was able to get her hands on. They would be canned and put in our outdoor pantry for our dessert after dinner throughout the winter. Cherries, peaches, apricots, and pears,
She loved making apple sauce. She would cut the apples, core them, and then cut them into pieces. Next, they got boiled with water, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Mum always got sweet tasting apples from a neighbors tree.
She had a funny-looking apple strainer (see above). Once the apples had been boiled and were soft they would be poured into this strainer and then the wooden roller that would fit into the bottom of the strainer would roll around the edges and squeeze the apples out into a large bowl that would be under the strainer. She would then can the apple sauce. We would use the apple sauce as a dessert or put with any kind of pork that we had for dinner.
One of my mother’s favorites was making jam. Any kind of jam. I think because of what came out of it in the end, she didn’t mind the mess and the stickiness. She got beautiful and delicious jam!
She made gooseberry jam, strawberry jam, raspberries jam, and her favorite, blackberry jam. Going out and picking the blackberries that grew along the roadside well into her late ’80s was something she loved. We finally had to say we would get the berries but she really shouldn’t be climbing into and over ditches and such at her age.
After that, if you could bring her the berries she would make the jam for you.
Her three daughters really didn’t eat that much jam and her son was not living nearby. She then decided she could have a win/win situation. She had all the jars and lids. She liked to seal the jam with wax. She would make the jam for anyone at the church that wanted any. Of course, the jam went quickly.
All the heat and stickiness was not for me. But mum loved it.
She lived two doors down from the church with my sister’s family. On the side property was an old apple tree and mum would carry the ladder from the garage to the tree. This way it was a little easier to get up the tree and pick the apples she wanted with a leg up so to speak. Mum was about 88 at the time!
The minister called my sister and said they didn’t mind mum picking the apples but were all worried she would fall and hurt herself. Reluctantly mum stopped climbing the tree. She would pick up any apples that fell on the ground.
She called them her holy apples.
She would then make the jam for seniors at the church. About that time she began asking for us to collect any baby food jars from our friends for her. What she said was that the jam she made in the regular jars were too large for the old folks at the church and that baby food jars were the right size. That this way they could have small amounts of different types of jam and it wouldn’t overwhelm them.
The old folks at the church at the time were about 10 years younger than she was. She just never thought about it that way.
Giving our time or abilities is something every one of us can do. Find something that you love to do and that someone would love to have and get on with it.
What are you waiting for?