Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Fruits of One's Labor

Two meanings, for me, that particular phrase:

I have three children, that's three separate incidents of labor...they are my fruit, so to speak. And the countdown is on...less than a month until my special little fruits return to school.  Get this: I will have two children in high school and one in his last year of elementary.  Most of the time, I don't really believe it...I don't certainly feel that old.  Anyway...

I have a garden, and it is that time of season to begin the harvest and reap the fruits of those labors, so to speak.

My father-in-law calls me yesterday and asks if I'd like sweet corn.  Sharing the fruits of his labors, as it were.  Of course I say yes, all the while wondering what the Bejesus I'll do with all this corn.  Remember, we planted three rows in my parents' garden and we are now picking all those as well.  And there's only so much sweet corn one can really eat before the ol' digestive system just shuts down.

In my humble opinion, planting and maintaining the garden is the easy part.  Even harvesting is simple...and gratifying, as well.

But, preserving?  Yeah.  That's the not-so-fun part.  Or, at least, the more difficult, time-consuming part.  However, much more gratifying than harvesting.

When your father-in-law gives you three dozen ears of corn and your mother gives you an ice cream bucket full of roma tomatoes...you do what any sensible person would do.  You freeze it.

I happen to have one of those food mill thingies that allow me to press food like tomatoes through a sieve of sorts...and the juice comes out, separate from the pulp and seeds.  Handy-dandy.  And this tomato juice will be used later in the fall for chili, beef stews, etc.  Unfortunately, the food mill I have has only one strainer, a very fine mesh one at that, and is really only good for juice - not an optimal product for other yummy tomato things like salsa and spaghetti sauce.  Alas.  I'll just have to go the old-fashioned route with the next round of tomatoes, blanching, peeling, and deseeding by hand.  Just like Ma and Pa Ingalls, I guess.

The corn, though, is simple as pie (which, as I think about it, is not really *that* simple.  Pie can be really complicated). 

1. Shuck it.
2. Cut it off the cob.  Sharp knife or serrated bread knife work awesome.
3. Mix into a big pan with a pint of half and half and a pound of butter.
4. Bake it at 350.  Stir every 20 minutes.
5. Remove and dish up into freezer baggies.

I really do love this time of year.  Between getting kids ready for school and preserving food for the fall months ahead, I feel as if I am experiencing my own renewal of sorts. 

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