Everything changes in the summer. For starters, I get up early to beat the Oklahoma heat. I’m a morning writer, but in summer I’ve had to learn to work in writing in short sprints.
Although my usual MO is to keep going until a job is finished, in summer I work in fits and starts. After half an hour, or when I can’t see because my glasses are salted from sweat, I go in to wash my face and get a drink.
I still love my black coffee, but mineral water is my best summer friend.
I don’t plan meals based on what’s thawed or in the pantry but on what is fresh and available. This week it’s yellow squash, the first tomatoes, and new red potatoes.
And cabbage! You may think of soup as a winter meal, but cabbage, potatoes, onions, and tomatoes make a divine soup. It’s good with lean ground beef, if you have it, or beef broth, but the vegetarian version is mighty fine.
I spend more time in the kitchen in summer, and I sing the praises of a good air conditioner because I am cooking from scratch instead of opening jars and freezer bags. There are more dishes to clean, but fresh food is so worth the effort.
Canning season has started. There are roasting beets in the freezer and pickled beets in the pantry. Corn will be here any day. My first jars of tomatoes, mandatory for winter soup and spaghetti sauce, are labeled and stored. I’m making cucumber dills this week.
I planned to process peaches this week, too, but Oklahoma happened. Last year, a pumpkin plant that sprouted outside one of my chicken runs was already spreading its vines in March. This year, we had a freeze in late April, the coldest April on record, and peaches are hard to find. Peaches are a staple in my winter kitchen, and I’m considering what we will use instead when the cold winds blow.
Dale loves peaches canned in a light honey/vanilla syrup. I love them frozen whole and only partially thawed. The skins slip right off, and the texture is like sorbet. Thanks to my friend Linda W. for that lovely trick.
The lack of peaches this year makes me think of the story of Joseph and the Pharaoh’s dream. When your essential foods are plentiful, save the extras. When they are scarce, you’ll be glad you did. Man, I wish I’d canned and frozen more peaches than I needed last year!
Take your homesteading advice where you can find it.
Hopefully, apples will be in good supply this fall. 2019 could be an apple winter.