In the past year or two we’ve seen vegetable and fruit gardening become quite fashionable. It’s a classic case of trends coming full circle; growing and canning our own food is a tradition here in southern Ohio so suddenly we find ourselves on the leading edge.
Concern over food safety, inflation pressure on food prices, and a trend to home improvement instead of vacation travel all are contributing to a surge in home gardening. So is the “slow food” movement, a growing awareness of how important it is to really savor and enjoy what we eat. For those of us already accustomed to eating fresh home-grown fruit and vegetables, this is not a new discovery. What’s next? I predict a resurgence of interest in home canning. Imagine that!
Our grandparents set an example for us by growing and canning fresh vegetables and fruits at home, preserving enough to last all winter. They did it because they had to in order to survive; buying food wasn’t always an option. Today, most of us can afford to buy food produced by strangers and shipped thousands of miles, but the quality of home-grown and home-canned food is now a luxury. Maybe it’s time to rediscover the pride and satisfaction that come from managing a home garden.
As independent garden center owners for almost 20 years, we had the pleasure of meeting quite a few home gardeners, some very experienced and many just learning. We really enjoyed swapping gardening tips and recipes with our customers, and shared their pride in their own produce.
Seasoned gardener Jeannette O’Bryant of Piketon had many words of wisdom for us one spring afternoon, and she happened to mention a favorite (colorfully worded) relish recipe. We asked her to send us a copy. Here’s a way to mix a surplus of late season vegetables into a treat you can enjoy all winter long. You can just taste the hot summer days in this delicious combination:
OLE DOROTHY’S RELISH
This ole relish is good on most any thang ‘n the jars looks so pretty wit the yallow ‘n red ‘n green vegtubbles… a powerfully good Christmas to make durin’ the summer!
· 2 hot peppers
· 15 green tumaters
· 15 ripe red tumaters
· 10 green sweet peppers
· 10 red sweet peppers
· 15 medium sized onions
· 3 cabbage heads
· 2 stalks celery
· ¾ cuppa salt
· 9 cups brown sugah
· 6 cups vinegah
· 3 boxes picklin’ spices
Whack up vegtubbles (‘ceptin’ celery), grate cabbage ‘n let soak in salt watah overnight … git up nex mawnin’ ‘n squeeze the salt watah outta vegtubbles by hand… now put mixture in hot vinegar wid the sugah ‘n drop in spices (what you got tied up in a cloth) … let the mess come to a boil ‘n drop cut up celery in.
Now take off ‘n put in 19 pint jars ‘n seal. Paw ‘n the neighbors is certinly gonna be proud uv you!
Thanks to Jeannette for this colorful recipe. We’d love to hear yours! “Like” us at Goodseed Farm Landscapes on Facebook and share it with us!
Steve Boehme is a landscape designer/installer specializing in outdoor living spaces. “Let’s Grow” is published weekly; column archives are online at www.goodseedfarm.com. For more information call GoodSeed Farm Landscapes at (937) 587-7021.