Written by Rev. Elizette Brown
Every year as a child, I witnessed my mom start to make pickles and jams in late summer and early fall. We lived in Iowa for a large part of my childhood and I was sometimes roped into assisting with these tasks. Summer would arrive, and suddenly the whole county had corn ready to harvest! I spent time after school with my Mennonite babysitters until my mother came to pick me up after work. At my babysitter’s I was taught how to shuck corn and to remove each and every annoying strand of corn silk. I whined so much during that chore, but dinner was so worth it with a fresh boiled ear of corn on my plate.
That same week, my Mom brings home tons of corn and asks me to yet again shuck corn on the porch. Well, I got the experience at least! It was also a glorious day in the shade with the evening sun turning the sky amber gold. This time, the corn was prepared in a different manner. My mom had white vinegar and lots of other ingredients I don’t remember, but she told me she was making corn relish. The whole house smelled of vinegar for the next 2 days, but that corn relish became a staple for the household for decades to come. We’d use it in multiple soups, and it was a beautiful gift to our neighbors so their dinner tables would be accompanied with happy memories.
Now that I’m a young lady, I’ve joined my mother in the kitchen during the annual Summertime Canning Weekend. I’m so glad to have the experience of joining my Mom on long car trips to family members with a large harvest to share. I’ve unboxed jar after jar for sanitizing, stirred gigantic pots for hours, scooped the magical concoctions into their glass homes, and heard the sweet music of jar tops popping knowing that they will be ready for the pantry the next morning. I love seeing the pantry shelves, knowing I’ve helped make batches of pickled beets, corn relish, salsa, tomato jam, etc.
I also love encouraging my sister’s children as we have picked bowl after bowl of blackberries in the heat of summer, and tell them all about the “jam sessions” that Grandma and I would make out of the stuff.
Now that I’ve moved to a colder part of town, and own a home without snow plow routes; the pantry is even more important to my family. We will be snowed in, it is a certainty. We have stocked up on dry goods and anything that we can preserve, we have. Demeter’s message is important to keep in mind as these food prices rise at the grocery stores, some items aren’t in stock anymore. If there is a garden that you can create, or someone else’s garden you can support; you should lend a hand. With that food, you never know if it will be the next meal in your pantry.
Come Celebrate the Harvest Season with us: Mabon with the Ever Green Hearth Saturday, September 24
Elizette is The maiden of The Ever Green Hearth, a Second Degree Priestess of the WISE Tradition, participating as an active coven member, and the Hearth Librarian since 2015. Elizette holds a Bachelor's Degree of Arts and Communication from The Evergreen State College, and currently works for the State of Washington in a position that allows her to help state residents find access to health services. She is a Green Witch, with a strong interest in the magical and medicinal properties of plants. Elizette is also a book worm who enjoys knitting, and a professional tarot card reader with Keen. Com – you can find her services with the user name Cloover.