Putting Away Summer
Sunday mornings in Autumn are well spent putting away summer. In August the Gravenstein apples ripen. We pick and pick, trying to get the ripe apples before they fall. There are too many apples to eat and to use, but we try. Put away the best to eat through October, make applesauce, make pies. We are famous for our pies. He washes, peels and slices while she makes the pie dough. Chill the dough and mix the apples with spices, sugar and other ingredients. Fill the pie shells and bake. Then freeze and whenever company comes, there will be an apple pie for dessert. The fun part is at the end, when she uses the left-over dough to make whatever suits her fancy: a mini-pie, an open-faced “pita” (his favorite), or just roll the dough with cinnamon and sugar for a midday treat.
Next come the Golden Delicious. By now, we are rather tired of apples and these don’t make good pies anyway. So we eat a few, offer them to neighbors, or make a bit of applesauce to go with pork chops later in the season.
Now the squash. She cuts it and sautés it with celery, carrots, onion or leek, and then adds broth and cooks until all is soft. Then she purees it in the 30+ year old Waring blender, its avocado green a bit faded but still working after all these years. The soup, too, we freeze,because it tastes so good on a cold winter day. But the left-over broth is used to make soup for today’s lunch.
And finally, the tomatoes. Slow to ripen this year, they are suddenly bursting at the branches’ seams with round red fruit. We can’t keep up, despite eating them daily and giving them to neighbors. So we make tomato sauce. The blender is again put to use. Wash and cut the tomatoes, and put them into the blender. Then pour into a large pot and boil until it becomes a thick sauce. The flavor is intense and makes great spaghetti sauce when we take it out of the freezer later in the season. Sometimes we take out some sauce early in the cooking process and strain it to make a thinner sauce for soup. The foam that forms at first has a wonderful flavor but we haven’t found a use for it yet. Could it be mixed into eggwhite and served with fish?
She is now trying a dehydrator as well. Dried tomatoes and kale chips are so good, but they get eaten right away and thus are not preserved for winter.
So now we are ready for Winter. Spaghetti tonight? Get out a container of tomato sauce. A cold, rainy day? Get out the squash soup. Company coming tonight? Defrost an apple pie. Is he making his famous breaded pork chops? Get out a container of apple sauce to go with it. And with each meal, savor the taste of summer that accompanies the meal.
How better than breakfast to start the day?
Two soft-boiled eggs with salt and pepper,
Lean strips of bacon, crisp and brown,
Two slices of toast with Danish butter,
A mug of coffee with cream and sugar,
A dear companion across the table,
And a newspaper to read or browse.
How better to start a Sunday morn?
An epigram a day:
Common sense is everyman's wisdom.
One is no less and no more than what one thinks, feels and does.
Better to have little and treasure it than to have much and only possess it.
Whatever you do will reflect you.
Indolence can be a pause that refreshes.