Coming to terms with summer’s end
The arrival of September is bittersweet. The beginnings and endings of the days grow chilly and leaves start to flash color in isolated spots. I start to crave hot dinners again, soups and stews and hearty casseroles. Squash appear in all of their multicolored glory at the market. I start to feel a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach: partly because fall means winter is next, and partly because the glory of summer is so fleeting. I am a squirrel, gathering whatever I can from the garden and drying and preserving it as fast as I can. I dried lots of tomatoes and herbs…I made pickles…I made pickled peppers…I froze raspberries…I made black currant jam….and still there are apples, pears, and grapes to preserve.
I am curious how others segue from the season of plenty to the leaner months ahead. I ask farmers what they’re doing to get ready. One woman told me about the pestos she makes, the peppers she roasts and freezes, and the tomatoes she puts up. She smiles as she tells me about making pasta in January and topping it with roasted pepper pesto that she froze mixed with a smidge of cream to make a quick sauce. She told me how decadent it made her feel and how it was a little taste of summer.
I feel better. I realize the work that I’m doing now is a gift to my future winter self who is dreaming about spring and fresh green shoots. I won’t remember the fleeting strawberries, only the abundance of tomatoes that I’m still able to enjoy when the snow is falling.
Sun, September 11, 2011