From Seeds to Jars—With Mom’s Help

My transformation thoughts come laced with rebellious pouts, but are followed by tears and a longing to hear Mom’s voice again.

As a child and teenager, my sister and I had to help Mom harvest and prepare fruits and vegetables to do the canning. After much prodding, it was early mornings to pick strawberries, peas, beans, cucumbers—all “before the sun gets so hot”—Mom’s words, not ours! After the picking, it was snapping beans, podding endless peas, stemming strawberries, washing prickly cukes, even pitting sour cherries with a bowl of water on our laps—often happening while sitting under the shade of a maple tree. Of course, we grumbled and hated most of it—until the jars were filled and opened for winter meals.

Fast forward to age 30, living on Woodside Drive and gardening begins. My grumbling tune changed from “do I have to” to “how do I do this, Mom?”  Thankfully, Mom was patient with me as she answered my many, many questions on the phone. “Do you use light or medium syrup on peaches? Could I have the recipe for saccharin pickles? Do I peel tomatoes to can them whole?  What do I do if a can doesn’t seal?” On and on went my queries—usually as I was about to start the process! Slowly but surely, after 50 years of canning and preserving fruits and vegetables, I think I have the process down pat…. transformation complete—with a little help from Mom!

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About the author

Lu Culp

I’m a Momma and a Nana, a gardener and a canner—the latter two for 50 plus years. Perhaps oddly enough, I enjoy the canning and preserving process. In early years, canning was often done with Marilyn Stutzman. We’d let our kids run wild, feed them PB&Js while we fussed at sticky messes, getting the job done before dinner time. Now I enjoy the solitary process, but do miss Orville Morris, a forever friend to many FMC-ers, turning the Victorio handle, squeezing out applesauce.

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