17 08 2012

When I was raising all my children and there were a bunch, my mother in law grew vegetables in her garden and gave them to me.  So I was obligated whether I liked it or not to can or preserve or do whatever I could to save all those vegetables for my family to eat.  I always wondered if I saved any money doing that, but I still had to do it anyway.

First, she would call me and tell me she had a basket of tomatoes or peaches or whatever else there was.  Of course I was most grateful for all this, but I hated getting the phone call.  First of all, I’d better get myself over there in a hurry because she had no patience for my not coming right now.  Those tomatoes might just spoil before I got there.  Well, of course I had a few dozen other things going at the time but that didn’t count.  Like, maybe I was running a load of wash and wanted to put them in the dryer or maybe I had to take some of the kids to the pool or to the barbershop or whatever.  No matter, hurry up and get that basket full of tomatoes.  So I did of course.  Makes for better family relations if I do it right.

Then after picking up the vegetables, I still have to take those kids wherever or whenever they are going.  Then get home and make all the preparations for canning.  Do you know what that means?  Takes a lot to can tomatoes.  Lots of washing and getting ready and setting up.  By this time, the children are ready for lunch so have to stop and do that.  Then it is time to put someone down for a nap.  Have to do that.  By this time, that load of clothes is through in the dryer so have to do that.  Finally, with a couple of hours before time to start dinner, I start canning.  And I canned and canned and canned fast as I could.

If you have time, read my blog entitled Jars.  You will really enjoy it if you have ever been faced with any of the above.  Just pure fun.  Might just as well laugh over it all.  But, I’ll tell you for sure, I was glad when she quit giving me those vegetables.  I was about canned out.  And I still wonder if I saved any money in the deal.  Guess I did, though.  It is in the papers now that the price of groceries is going to go up because of the drought.  If this is true, you might want to get a few jars and think about canning yourself.  Never know.  Those tomatoes are hard to beat.  Glad I had them lots and lots of times.  Read Jars and laugh!

Remember when food was real food?

20 11 2009

Hi again: was talking with a friend a couple of days ago. We got to talking about canning and preserving and putting up all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and meats. She mentioned how many quarts of tomatoes she had canned this past summer. I replied that I knew all about that. I have had more experience than I ever wanted in the field of canning and preserving. I then said that tomatoes were so easy to can and they could be counted on to be just as good as the day they were canned, no matter how long they sat on the shelf. She then said that this is not the case anymore. Nowadays, tomatoes have been genetically altered to the point that almost all the acid has been removed from the tomatoes. Now, when they are canned, unless some acid such as lemon juice is added to them, they will spoil rather quickly.

I was truly shocked. I had canned many jars of tomatoes and depended on them many a cold winter day to help stretch a pot of soup or a casserole. That would be terrible if the canned tomatoes spoiled. And then I got to thinking about it all. I guess that is why tomatoes taste like cardboard these days. They have none of that good tomato taste that we used to look forward to each summer. I can still smell that good tomato smell and taste that great taste of years ago. But I never knew exactly what had happened to the tomatoes. And now I know.

I already knew the grains and meats had been genetically engineered to the point that you wonder just what it is that you are eating some days. But I really didn’t know that was why tomatoes had changed so much. Guess that means all the fruits and vegetables are genetically altered to the point that they can sit on the grocer’s shelf for months before spoiling. That is why they can ship them all over the world without damage. Used to be, the tomatoes in the southern part of our state had to be bought, shipped and eaten or canned in a few day’s time or else they would not be palatable. Now, I go into the store, no matter if it is a local one or a national one, feel the hard tough tomato, try to smell it to see if it will have any taste and come away from the store disappointed once again.

And it is said that even if you grow them yourself from old time seeds, they will still get genetically altered if they are pollinated by the bees and cross pollinated with a neighbor’s seeds. Just the same taste as an old piece of cardboard.

I know people get sick and tired of hearing about how good things used to be, but you know that is true these days. Wish we could return to the good tasting, big, bursting tomatoes like my grandmother used to grow. Or to the really great tasting watermelon that I used to eat as a kid,  or to summer squash that tasted like squash instead of a yellow notepad. And those freshly made preserves were so good. I can still remember the true plum preserves and that great strawberry shortcake. Where did it all go? Genetically altered, that’s where it went. What a shame. But I can still wish.