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.