It’s easier to fill a freezer than to empty it.
Oh, sure: there’s hard work involved in tilling a garden plot, planting seeds and seedlings, weeding and watering, staking, harvesting, and processing all that abundance, then tucking it into the freezer for the duration.
There’s satisfaction in stacking green beans, blanched and bagged against a cold, dark evening brightened by the taste of green summer, bringing back memories of heat and humidity, swimming and beer. Yes, those long, hot days yield pints of chard and kale for soups and stews and the slow-cooked meals of winter.
In fact, we’re so busy outside, that we’re grateful for the leeks, peppers and berries
that can be frozen without blanching.
We pick berries till our fingers turn red. Raspberries are ridiculously easy to grow. What makes them precious is that they have a brief shelf life before they deflate and mold. But they freeze easily, so that’s what we do.
Our patch is prolific. If I had nothing else to do, I could pick twice a day at the peak of the season. Even picking once a day yields more berries than we can eat in a year, especially since it’s so much easier to fill a freezer than to empty it.
Okay, so I’m a hoarder. In the abundance of summer, I can pick a gallon of berries in under an hour, and I can eat them almost as fast. But in the winter I hoard them, afraid they won’t last.
Apples, pears and pumpkins keep us in fresh fruit and pies until well after Thanksgiving, so we don’t even defrost rhubarb or berries until the first of the year.
At first, we defrost the fruit sparingly. Our faith wobbles and we fear we won’t have enough to tide us over until the rhubarb returns. We ration ourselves; ignoring the freezer’s abundance. We buy oranges. Then the crocuses pop up. Color slowly returns to the landscape. And suddenly, it’s time to start early spring chores.
This year, we renovated the raspberry beds, replacing supports, reestablishing aisles and thinning the rows. And we pruned – as we do every year.
Pleased with ourselves, we had no time to rest. We had to start making room in the freezer for the oncoming crop. So the next day, we weeded the freezer, ate berries for breakfast – and made three kinds of jam.
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