(This painting hangs in my kitchen… It’s so me!)
Why fermentation? Why canning? Why grow your own food when you have grocery stores on every corner? Why go through the work?
Oh my, so many questions. I’ve heard it all. I’ve even heard, “Sherry you are too sick to be doing all of that”, or “I did all that when I was younger and see no need to keep doing it. I hated doing it then with my mother why would I do it now.” Well, the primary answer to everyones “why” about this topic is this:
Neighbor, “Yeah we have so many tomatoes this year that Sally (name changed) is thinking we should make some pasta sauce. We just aren’t sure what to do with so many.”
MY husband, “Oh yeah. Can the sauces so you have them this winter. It was great this last winter when Sherry was so sick and I prepared the meals, those canned sauces really helped out when I needed them.”
Neighbor, “Maybe they can help one another and do the canning together.”
Said and done! Two verses come to mind when I consider this conversation exchange. The first is from Proverbs 31:10- 18 “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.” Keep in mind that as I type this I am aware that it sounds boldly prideful on my part to consider this verse and my husbands conversation. However, when you realize that the title of this portion of Proverbs is titled “A Woman Who Fears The Lord” you understand that all that I do is pleasing to the Lord. I understand who the Lord is and why I am here.
Now, I also must admit that the human side of my being, living in a self indulgent world also realizes that homemaking has become a taboo word for women. The thought amongst our peers is that we were either too stupid to make it doing anything else (and yes I’ve even heard of one persons interpretation of my being a stay at home mom described as “not being highly educated”) or we have an overbearing husband who chains us to the house without allowing us to have a mind of our own. That being said, I have to also admit that worldly thinking can and does creep in sometimes. My worldly thought on the conversation was this, “Thank you Lord that my husband appreciates the sacrifices I have made. I was not at the pool, tennis courts, golfing at the club, sitting down watching soap operas (are those still running?) or going out spending money with friends buying designer clothes and enjoying lavish expensive lunches (as many of my friends did at our last place of residence). I will consider this my paycheck… A wonderful compliment from my husband.” Now, being that I started it out as a sort of thanksgiving prayer, one would assume this was not worldly, however, I would argue with you that it was very selfish on my part to look to myself with pride expecting praise from someone for something I’ve done and sacrifices I made. Really? I’ve made no sacrifices, this is my JOB as a wife and mother. Going to the Word of God you see that Proverbs 31 has much more to say past verse 18. And, it’s all to please the Lord. Does that mean there is no laughter and fun? Of course not. There is great joy when you all sit down together for a meal, or when the aroma of dinner tantalizes your husbands nose when he walks in the door, and the pleasing look in his eyes when he knows that he doesn’t have to worry about one more thing after a full day of work away from those he loves.
Gardening, canning, fermenting, and housework is done to please the Lord. Not to please anyone else. Now, in pleasing the Lord, I am also pleasing the family. It’s a win win.
The second verse was from Titus 2:3, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Again, God honoring to teach the younger women (Sally) how to please the Lord by also pleasing, preparing, saving money and working for the good of the family.
Now, that I’ve shared what’s been on my mind the last two days, I need to share why it’s been on my mind. Yesterday began canning day. With the harvest coming in from our own garden and the local CSA it’s time to begin preparing for winter. Oh we enjoy enough of our harvest now, however, we also enjoy it all winter long. The first comment of my being too sick actually came to reality when I was on my feet all afternoon without sitting down for a break and by dinner time my right leg was numb and I felt like I was again dragging my right foot. Oh swizzle sticks! (as the little girl next door says) Today is a new day and we will try again. Taking breaks this time so as not to overdo.
Yesterday I canned the two day project I was working on. Chicken Stock. Yes, I canned it. I did some reading and educated myself so as not to ruin anyones day with illness. I made my chicken stock the day before, cooking it in the Nesco all day. Then I poured it into jars, refrigerated it and skimmed off the fat the next morning. I then put it back into a stock pot (2 – 3/4 gallons of it) just to the boiling point, poured it into clean hot pint jars, added a tsp. of salt and placed on the lids and began the canning process. Because water baths are not sufficient enough for chicken stock, I used two of my pressure canners at 10 lbs. of pressure for 20 minutes. I made 23 pints of stock. (See previous post last fall on making the chicken stock.) Disclaimer: I would NOT can any chicken that comes from the traditional conventional marketplace. I would only can organic, non-GMO fed chicken stock that was homemade with all organic ingredients using pure unadulterated water sources.
After the chicken stock I moved on to making fermented salsa. I took the beautiful ripe organic tomatoes from the CSA (mine are not done yet), one very large onion, a large bunch of cilantro and about 10-15 garlic. I put them all in the food processor and gently processed them down to a mildly chunky state and poured it all into a bowl. I took clean jelly jars and a few pints placing 1 tsp. salt and 1 TBS fresh whey in each. Then I scooped the salsa into each jar leaving 1 inch space at the top. Wiped each clean and put on the lids. I then shook the jars to mix in the whey and the salt. Placing them on the counter on top of a towel I then unscrewed the lid of the jar so the air would be able to flow. I will leave them on the counter from 3-7 days, burping the jars each day to release the fermented gases before putting them into the refrigerator.
Fermented foods have been a long tradition in many cultures and is wonderful to help aid in digestion. We see the importance of eating yogurt, this is the same only using fresh organic vegetables. Each month my doctor wants to know if I am continuing to eat my fermented veggies, juicing, kefir and kombuccha of which the answer is always yes. We both agree it helps tremendously.
Today, I will be creating and making fermented beats, fennel, cabbage recipes which I will share at the end of the week.
P.S. I am college educated with a 4 year degree. 🙂
Thank you Lord for the blessing of a family to care for. Thank you for the knowledge you have provided regarding health, nutrition, foods, and the human bodies response to unnatural man made resources. Thank you Lord for the daily strength that can only come from you as I open my eyes each day feeling weary. It is only through your almighty grace that I continue on. Lord I pray that I can honor you through all that I do, say and think. Help me to keep my focus on you and you alone so that all I do on this earth will be glorifying to you. Amen…