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Holy Pie

blackberries

I am a human food processor.  Yes indeed, I am picking, washing and putting food by on a daily basis right now.  My fingers and nails are colorful and I did not need to pay for the art.

With my partner off biking, I am getting too much for me to eat from the CSA (community supported agriculture) box and the garden.  I am too frugal for wasting anything so I cut, slice and dice into containers; fill the dehydrator and the freezer with all that I cannot eat.

Carrots are washed and diced and put into bags for use in the soups and casseroles that will come all winter long.

Celery roots, leaves are sliced and put into bags for future stock – and cream of celery soup (the base of the Bagdad Hash recipe).

There is just so much parsley, basil and mint to dry – and they will spice up our lives.

Garlic is peeled and chopped and each small bag is placed inside a larger bag for easy finding in the freezer.

Potatoes are cubed and steamed and either mashed or just frozen in form for future pie crusts, bread and meals.

40 pounds of blueberries are tucked away for the cup a day I need for my health.  Lots of strawberries and raspberries too have been processed.

I have pureed some fruits like peaches which are just starting, because I can make great dried fruit and leather without adding any sugar – and sorbet without sugar tastes so yummy in January’s cold and dark days.

All of this takes time.  And the time is named by each fruit or vegetable as it ripens; in its own season.

My favorite part of this whole season is making our Christmas Eve Pie.  It is a sacred experience.

My children always had parts in plays or choirs to perform on Christmas Eve so a fabulous dinner which was quick was important to enjoy together as a family.   The family consensus chose Frog Powder Soup (split pea) as their supper and, to remember and be grateful for summer’s bounty, Blackberry Pie.

I did not pick the berries this year, because no one was home to help with that task, but I did carry organic berries home from the Farmer’s Market.   I put a Christmas record on the turntable and began the process.   I sorted the berries and picked out leaves and twigs.  I cut open a “safe” plastic produce bag and lay it overlapping the edges of the pie pan.  Then I formed plastic wrap into the pan and over top of the bag.  I handpicked each berry from out of the bowl and layered them into the pan.  I sprinkled tapioca flour over the first layer of berries when I deemed it just the right height.

4 thin pats of butter were cut into 4 squares to spread around the first layer along with a slight sprinkle of nutmeg and 1/3 cup of grade A pure maple syrup.  The top layer was configured with the same berry by berry process and with the same supplements added to the peak.

I will make the crust in December several days before I put the pie in the oven.

The plastic wrap is tucked over and then the plastic bag.  I use a couple of pieces of freezer tape to secure the ends.  Out to the freezer in pan, it goes and when solid, I bring the pan back to the kitchen for repeating the process – usually with apples.  Apples are very slow this year.

I do not know if anyone is coming to dinner or even if we will be here for this event.  But I am trusting that the pie will be a holy treat for just the right moment in time.  It is a meditation to the fruits of this year: a bounty which beguiles us now and remains a mystery in the darker days to come.

I sign in contentment and now must peel and chop onions.  All that zucchini to go…

Do you have a holy treat you process now for the sweetness of times to come?  Please share.

If you enjoyed what you read here you might also enjoy reading my other sites  Biking Architect and Wise Ears – come on over and check them out!

Related Reading:
Food For Thought Holiday
Lunch
Cauliflower Pie Recipe
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20 Responses to “Holy Pie”

  1. Melody | Deliberate Receiving Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    I love how cooking and baking are such a metaphor for life. Especially when you’re involving fruits and vegetables. The harvest cycle (nature has its own rhythm and can’t be rushed), the meditative nature of the repetitive actions like chopping, the feelings of wonder and gratitude that we feel for the variety of tastes and textures that nature has to offer, and finally, the timing of the actually cooking and baking. It all happens perfectly and if we just allow it, instead of taking shortcuts, the result will be incredibly worth it. There are so many metaphors in your story, like enjoying the fruits of your labor, your creation, long after you set the intention… Wonderful.

    Thank you as always for your wisdom.

    Hugs,
    Melody
    Melody | Deliberate Receiving recently posted..How to Love Your Sucky JobMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Melody,
    I actually debated about taking a bit of time off, the preparation has been so time consuming, but then I would have no one to talk with right now for days on end….so then why not write about what I am busy with – the problem being that I am just not able to get to so many blogs to read and comment…

    I do not want to miss out on all the good connections :)

  2. Talon Says:

    You have been very busy, Patricia! Isn’t it remarkable the wealth of health and goodness that has gone through your stained fingers? Amazing. That’s the best part, I think. In the deep of winter, there is nothing finer than having something on hand that transports you instantly to back to the warmth and beauty of summertime.

    My sons will both be coming home for a visit on Friday. I haven’t seen one in five months and the other since the holidays in December last year. I’m very excited. Of course, they put in requests for favorite dishes. It’s always a delight to prepare something for those you love – that’s true soul food to me :)

    patricia Reply:

    Talon,
    Oh your company sounds good…and yep it is fun to cook for guests and family – I have to admit I am fairly burned out on the daily fare of cooking even if it is healthy and kind…

    We just picked up two kiddos and connected with them over a family wedding and Library Girl is coming home with her vacuum cleaner to help me clean up for my book group next week…All that time in the car gave us some fabulous conversation and connection time…and food was not so important…but in winter it is good

  3. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    I can relate to the pleasure you obviously derive from preparing food. It really is one of life’s most basic pleasures.
    vered | blogger for hire recently posted..Skin Care Facts, and a Facial Cream Giveaway (CLOSED)My Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Vered,
    It is one of life’s most basic pleasures, but right now I have to keep reminding myself of that! It was a bit lonely making the pie.

    I also had to order the Thanksgiving Turkey from my CSA and wondered if we would be here or in SF? and whether it would be our last time of having a kiddo in SF?

  4. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. Holy Pie .. you are being busy .. and what a bounteous feast you will have … I remember doing this sort of thing – but haven’t for a long time ..

    Do you ever do any bottling .. I think that’s what I’d like to do again one day … but your dehydrator does sound like an idea ..

    Cheers for now – I have to leave your mountains of goodies .. lucky family and friends is all I can say .. and your blackberry Christmas pie must be wonderful .. Hilary
    Hilary recently posted..Let’s Talk Turkey …My Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Hilary,
    I have to ready your turkey post – I just ordered mine for Thanksgiving from my CSA!

    I think we call bottling – canning….I used to do mountains of that…but now without everyone home and no extra hands I don’t do it at all. If I freeze the tomatoes I can make fresh sauce the day before I need it….and my father in law’s orchard was peaches and apricots ( bees too) so we spent years making jam and canning and doing all those tasks at their house….Now I purchase from the grower who purchased his orchards…
    Some one else’s turn…the dried strawberries and other fruits make great gifts for the holidays – and drying the herbs takes up less space for storage.

  5. Hilary Says:

    It’s interesting isn’t it .. I’d call canning .. things in tins! I guess we’ve just got large freezers now .. Your father in law’s orchard sounds glorious .. and ok – great gifts of dried strawberries and fruits .. and the herbs ..

    Thanks .. you won’t want my turkeys .. they’re for viewing only! Cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted..Let’s Talk Turkey …My Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Hilary,
    Oh we put lots of canning in tins over the years – the Brewery supplied and canning kitchen and for a fee the tins…My mum spent hours with her friends canning apple sauce and peaches, etc.
    But then the Mason and Ball corporations developed glass jars that could be processed at home and hot sealed… We still called it canning, – My neighbor hot seals the jars and then puts them in the freezer when they are cool? She at 80 still cans or bottles

    I use special freezer bags which are BPA free and can be reused but fit better into the freezer…and I no longer pre-cook the beans and tomatoes or carrots…we use them up so fast.

    Now I really must come over and read about you turkeys!

  6. Galen Pearl Says:

    What a wonderful food/metaphor post! I want to come eat at your table!

    patricia Reply:

    Galen,
    You are always welcome at my table! Thank you for your kind words…
    Librarian Girl is apartment hunting in Portland, when she gets settled…I am going to work at heading that way for a visit and to meet you – I need that cuppa……Maybe I will make you some zucchini bread!

  7. Brittany Says:

    Wow sounds like you have been preparing a lot of great, fresh food! My family and I picked 40 lbs of blueberries while on vacation in Michigan in the summer of 2010 and we have frozen a lot of them. We always get some of them out on Sundays to put in our pancakes and they are very good. Some of the big ones even taste like grapes sometimes, way better than store bought!
    Brittany recently posted..Painfully ShyMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Brittany,
    I usually pick about 40# of blueberries per year – and I have a cup of them almost everyday – it is hard on me when I did not get enough. My husband loves them in his pancakes along with chopped pecans or walnuts – yummy
    Librarian Girl and I love to eat them when we are reading as a snack!
    So good. So good!

  8. Chris Edgar Says:

    Hi Patricia — my holy treat is actually the Aloo Gobi Masala from the Indian restaurant down the street. I get the opportunity to worship it almost every day. :) But don’t get me wrong, I do some cooking (unlike five years ago, when I did none), in a pretty minimalist way.

    patricia Reply:

    Chris,
    Because I am cooking healing foods, I rarely get to eat out…I am not sure I would enjoy eating out everyday though as I just love food and want to eat just what my body and mind are asking for and I have trouble finding that on many menus….I also think I would be totally elephant sized if I ate out so often…

    But any tedious work and repetitive work needs attention and reprieve ….when the kids were little we would make up stories as a team sometimes and I think that was my favorite.

    I never minimize the strength it took to be a pioneer woman – or a woman without servants of any kind!

  9. Davina Haisell Says:

    Patricia, you have an abundance! It’s like the cornucopia at your place.

    I’ve been wanting to buy a food dehydrator for a long time. It’s great because you can buy produce in bulk when it’s on sale and store it for later use. Good for the budget. Plus, it makes meal preparation easier down the road.

    I love how you keep yourself busy with productive and creative activities. I don’t have a holy treat that I process for times ahead. My holy treat is ice cream :) And it doesn’t last long!
    Davina Haisell recently posted..How Technology Has Changed ProofreadingMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Davina,
    There are now some smaller dehydrators on the market and they are well worth the money…mine is truly farm sized – but the storage is so fabulous for dried herbs, veggies and fruits. The flavor is quite intense too.

    Thanks for the positive words about all the activities, I am finding it hard to keep up with writing and promoting Wise Ears…but I am sleeping soundly every night in physical tired.

  10. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    “It is a meditation to the fruits of this year…”

    This is a lovely thought.

    patricia Reply:

    Laurie,
    Thank you