There was a time…..

There was a time….quite a  few years ago now that I think of it….that depending on the season I would make a few jars of jams and pickles.

Then the plum tree came down in a gale so the jam production went down.  Things were tight and I wasn’t going to fork out for fruit as well as the sugar.  We were eating less and less of the sweet things so I didn’t miss the stack of filled jam jars in the cupboard.

I gave up on tomato and cucumber and some other vegetable growing a while ago… travelling and a back that had me cautious when digging as well as bending put paid to that.  Besides even with making chutneys and pickles I gave away more than we ate.

These days I buy fruit and veg from the farm gate or at a good greengrocer.  I can pick and choose and buy to our needs….. not have a glut when the season is good or worry about what we were going to eat if it was a bad ‘un

Food regulations meant that donations to ‘Street Stalls’ had to have ingredients listed and homemade recipes of  ‘just a pinch of this and a pinch of that’ weren’t acceptable so in the end that part of my life – the productive housewife – sort of came to an end.

We now buy jams and pickles.  Commercial food labelling means we are aware of all the included fats.. sugars.. salt.. you name it… so can judge whether it fits into our respective health needs.  You know what I mean…..is it going to make me fat, raise my cholesterol even higher (even though we pop a little pill one must still be aware – or so the lovely GP tells me)… not do my BP any good (same advice from the GP)

Now healthy or not (depending on your point of view) we do like a cup of coffee.  A Latte or Flat White when we’re out…..either plunger (french press) or (horrors of horrors, as some of my friends are inclined to remark) instant at home.  The Golfer was given a little coffee maker with associated pods but it’s a pain to use so has sat on the bench for quite a long while now – the Bodum plunger is easy and depending on the brand of ‘proper’coffee, (the one we use…grown in Queensland) tastes good to us – the taste of the instant brand we prefer isn’t so bad either.

Which brings me back to pickle making!

Like it or hate it…Moccona is our coffee of choice – it comes in big chunky jars which when washed and aired are great for dry goods storage.  Because they are also airtight an old acquaintance also used the smaller one for pickles (pickle onions and gherkins mainly)

‘I’ve got some spare ones’ says I about a year ago then promptly forgot – so did she.  And I bet you know where I’m going with this 🙂

Fine sunny weather – good for clearing corners of the garage – produced this haul of 8 Moccona 200gm jars.  Plus various balls and cricket stumps!

Sadly, when I rang this persons house to give her the good news (we had lost touch but thank goodness for old address books) it was to hear her husband tell me she had died only a few months ago.

‘She would have loved them’ he said.  ‘There was a time when….then he broke down.  I said my goodbyes and also said to myself ‘ yes there was a time’
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Monday morning here, later on after I finish my coffee I’m off down the street to donate those freshly washed jars and the balls and stumps.  I asked family and ‘no thank you was the answer’ – guess they have their own stock of…..jars and anything else that gets put away on the off chance it could come in handy some other time.

How about you – was there a time when you did…….and now just look back and wonder about the things you did… when you had the time?

20 thoughts on “There was a time…..

  1. I still do…but in much smaller quantities….it goes against the grain but no point making more. And your post has reminded me to use up the leftover cauiflower, cucumber and beans from the farmers’ market in making mustard pickle.

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    1. I’m glad someone is still keeping the art going Helen, even if it is as you say in a smaller way
      Yellow pickles – something I love with cheese. Much prefer it to fruit chutney.

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  2. Yes I used to make all that. And I grew lots of food in the back yard.
    But know it’s only us two. The kids don’t eat preserves all that much and they are all cutting out sugar so it’s just not worth the effort.
    Effort and energy I don’t have anymore

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    1. You’ve been quite crook for a while now Angela so it stands to reason you’ll cut back or even stop doing this type of preserving.
      Get well soon!

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    1. Oh yes fun Kay. Chopping and slicing for what seemed like forever lol. Splashes of hot sticky stuff up the back of the stove – then that big pan to be scrubbed. But we loved doing it at the time didn’t we!

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  3. A few years ago, I, too, used to make jams, pickles, chutneys and pickled onions. I’d set up a little stall at the end of this property for a few hours on Sunday mornings and sell my wares to the passing drivers (they stopped…I didn’t toss the jars through their moving car windows! 🙂 ) It was beginning to look like a factory here in my little cabin.

    I gave up production…and have not returned to it. Standing at length on hard surfaces…when making the products…sterilising the jars etc., doesn’t do much for my cranky old hips! lol

    I’ve a little electric coffee maker…not one that uses the pods. I also have plunger as well as a CorningWare coffee percolator that I’ve had for years. And I also boil up milk in a saucepan to for coffee made on milk! I’ve got a real coffee house going on here! 🙂

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    1. My goodness Lee you certainly were industrious – I’ve seen fruit and veg and various other products at the farm gates but not preserves (that I can remember that is). They often appear on the shelves of little local cafes and tea rooms – but always seem to have large price tags on them. Obviously registering the time effort and cost that went into producing them

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  4. I can’t believe what we used to achieve, renovating homes, socialising, family, markets, going out late at night, shopping and all the time working, me every second week six days. After three months off work, the highlight of my achievements has been washing down my ensuite walls, which took about three hours. But you know Cathy, I just don’t care.

    Mentioning the jars to the widower must have really triggered some strong emotions for him. Sad.

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    1. Welcome to the relaxed world of retirees Andrew. Things happen when the happen – at our pace. Not because we don’t care but because for a lot of things the need isn’t there.
      Once you adjust to the slower lifestyle you’ll return to a lot of those activities except they won’t all happen or need to be done in the same week. For a lot of things…..Slowly does it is my motto.
      I was so upset when I got off the phone after the jars fiasco – upset at not having heard of her death via the grapevine and upset with myself for causing her husband so much distress. I rang back the next day and he was in a much better place.

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  5. I still make lots of jam. Pickles I gave up as no-one ate them. I make new, strange produce every year, it is not always eaten either. Some stay, some are never made again.

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  6. Stopping by to thank you for your thoughtful response to my post. I grew up on a small farm ad did a lot of canning, baking, storing, sewing. I moved away after my college degree and no longer do much of that stuff. But as you know I do lots of volunteering instead.

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    1. It always seems like farm families want/need to have the result of those skills on hand.
      Our lives change over the years and yes, other activities are uppermost in our minds. Giving back by volunteering is a fabulous thing to do 😊

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  7. Oh my. Memories, I even pickled carrots. Hot peppers. Pears and peaches. I was a machine. Now? Hell, I live alone, a jar of jam does me a month. I made my own jam up to about 2 years ago as I had a little inn and guests loved my selection and would buy jars from me. I still have empty jars I must get rid of them. Jam ain’t happenin’ anymore.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. Sometimes where we live and the climate determines what gets preserved and in what form. I’ve never come across pickled carrots before- as they say there’s a first time for anything.
      Did you bring empty jam jars with you when you moved from the B&B to the city? Or have you been collecting them on the quiet lol

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  8. not from my end of things…I tihink I made microwave marmalade once or twice, but a couple of boil overs even in the m/wave put fast stop to that…I now buy a jam that comes in a good plastic which has recycle stamped all over it, plus actually the lid/vessel is a good tight fitter for other items, often buttons or similar in art workshop…as to coffee of the instant type, we have Jeds smaller than Maccona but still nice glass bottle and screw down top…

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    1. my ex-husband didn’t like “homemade” it had to be recognised brand from a factory line…and in fact he didn’t even like homebaking – it had to come from the supermarket preferably well wrapped AND he was so fussy, on one would want to bake/make much for him anyway.
      However at one point I apparently made excellent chocolate chip muffins…I would go off to wherever, come back and find one left of the 12 I finally stopped that by telling him these are “chocolate and walnut” – he hated nuts! I would get home and 12 would be waiting for me…and he never discovered I was telling him a porkie on the ingredients…”nope, no walnut crossed into that muffin tray”

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