Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Chow Chow Bee

Someone, please stop me from beginning this post by lamenting what a failure I've been on meeting my personal goal of posting twice a month. I have lots of really good excuses, but today I'm going to expound on my favorite one. October was my mad rush to get every bit of the last harvest in for the year, and then it turns out I needed a month to recuperate. Seriously, I am all at once invigorated and worn out, a feeling that lingers after the last dead stem is pulled from the garden and the soil is put to rest. 

I hope to catch up on my blog now, because I am grounded with an ankle injury from a playground accident. Don't you think someone in my age group should be done with playground accidents? Me too. 

This year, a few friends and I decided to pool our resources together and can several kettles   of chow chow. For those who have never heard of chow chow, or have heard of it but are not sure what it is, here is a simple definition. It is basically chopped vegetables pickled in a vinegar and sugar solution with some spices. When I visit out west, they seem to call it "mixed pickle" or something like that. It makes good use of the last of the garden goodies; carrots, beans, cabbage, cucumbers, and sometimes green tomatoes. It's a lot of chopping, and a lot of work because you have to cook each vegetable separately before mixing them together for a brief simmer, so it's a blessing when you can get some help and make it a group effort. 

I wouldn't have bothered with it this year without help, because like I said, it's a lot of work. 

Vegetable soup for lunch
 I like hearing old family stories about how everyone would get together for chow chow day and cut vegetables, and then since you have everything all prepared, it only made sense to get some beef and have soup for lunch. So we did.
One of the kettles simmering.

This is aunt Martha managing the hectic kitchen.
Another tradition I like is a game of "Guess how many quarts?" The person who guesses the closest to the correct number of quarts that are ultimately canned wins some small prize. No one guessed the exact number, so we all ate cookies.

Some jars awaiting.

      I don't recall the exact number of jars that we processed, but once divided among us it was a plentiful amount. Now that I am off my feet and not able to cook, we are extra thankful for every item lining our shelf this winter.

Everything should work out that well.


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