|Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State.Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.|
We are into canning right now. As the vegetables and fruits come up-we “can” them. My mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, David’s grandmother, a few neighbors come into my house when I start the canning. This time I invited the Amish lady that we just built the house and barn for, her mother and mother-in-law. She came to help and we will stock her up when she leaves. Since they just got their house they are starting a late garden and we all want to be sure that in addition to their garden, they have enough through the winter. Of course, I am sure the Amish will do the same. Right now we are finishing the strawberries. We are making strawberry jams and jellies. Then comes peas, string beans, tomatoes, and raspberries. More will be coming soon. Every time I start canning I think of Martha who changed to Old Order Mennonite (Richard will have her post on July 15th) started canning. She had never done canning so one of the first things I said was to wash the fruit.Having done a lot of canning I just assumed she knew what I meant. Martha did-she washed them with hot soap and water. I caught her before she put them all in the soap and water. We both laugh about that now, but she cried at the time. I took the blame as I should have explained more. I knew. I just assumed she did. I was wrong. Martha gave me her permission to tell that in my post. Now she is as good as the rest of us and knows what to do from start to end.
Some suggestions I offer in canning. Pick only ripe or fresh, unbruised fruit, or vegetables. Don’t pick anything that is overripe. Make sure the vegetables or fruits are washed (rinsed in cool water) or peeled. DO NOT double a recipe. Sometimes I have all four burners of my stove going with a big pot on each burner -all four canning the same fruit or vegetable. Make sure jars are not cracked, chipped, etc. DO NOT reuse sealing lids. I always sterilize all my jars. Do not over fill jars. Make sure the seals are sealed. I have several pressure cookers that I use in many of canning’s. Take your time-try not to hurry. You make more mistakes in a hurry than you do taking your time. If you can, have a friend or relative join you-it makes it go faster.
I know some people who reuse sealing lids, but I never do. Some of my canning items are to be sold or gifts and I want to make sure they are sealed correctly. Also to sell in this state (NewYork) they must be new sealed lids. Also, I don’t want the lids to blow in my house storage either due to them not sealing correctly or full. Cam you imagine what a mess that would make? Many of the sellers at the Farmers Market and Veterans Market sell their fruit and vegetables as they get them canned. They also sell them fresh. David and I see fresh fruit, but we hold back on the canned goods. We bring our canned goods out in November or December. By then most of the other sellers have sold what they had. Canned goods are good for their homes and also for Christmas Gifts. At Christmas I sometimes bake bread and sell the bread and jellies in a basket sealed in plastic with bows on the outside. Like they sell Easter baskets. They really sell at Christmas time. Nothing like fresh bread and homemade jellies.
On another subject David is a member of the local volunteer Fire Department. When he became of age, he wanted to belong because his Father was a fireman. So at 18 he applied, was interviewed and accepted into the Fire Department. There are several Old Order Mennonites and now a few Amish on the Fire Department. When David was accepted he had to go to Fireman training at our local department. He also had to go to county wide training at local fire departments. Now in Gorham, if you train for the Fire Department you also have to train for the volunteer ambulance. It doesn’t mean that you will called to attend the ambulance, but if you are called for the ambulance or are at a fire and found someone injured-you know what to do. David has used his medical knowledge at a a few fires while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. David was trained to know everything there is to know about the Fire Truck except driving because it is against our Old Order Mennonite rules that he drives. He knows how to load and unload the trucks, how to use the hoses, how to use the tankers and more. Every other year like all the other firemen, David has to go through review to make sure he keeps sharp on the latest procedures. Being a fireman he has gone to fires, accidents, and more. Because of his fireman’s training we have made changes in our house and barn to make our place more fire safe. Be with God, Jean
|Dont miss this Fridays post from Martha. She was English and converted to the old order Mennonite church . She tells her story for the very first time only on Amish Stories.