Preservation: Jams & Butters
A common form of preservation is making jam! It is a traditional way to preserve those delicious summer fruits (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches) and the fall harvest (pumpkin butter, apples and cranberries).
Making jam can be an intergenerational activity that allows for skill-sharing between family members and across generations. It’s a tradition that can be passed between friends, or passed down from grandparents to grandchildren or parents to children. It encourages self-reliance and harmony with the seasons.
Remember Lydia Maria Child, the author featured in the Sept/Oct 2016 edition of “Learning Ahead?” Her book, The American Frugal Housewife, includes many recipes for jams and preserves. By preserving the fruits and vegetables from the harvest, you are also preserving a piece of cultural history here in Western Massachusetts by participating in this traditional heritage.
Preservation: Community-Based Resources
Curious to learn more about food preservation techniques and their history? Explore local history through food and culture at Western Massachusetts museums. Local living history museums in Western Massachusetts often celebrate the harvest season by reenacting the preservation traditions used in years past. Here are a few living history museums that showcase the art of food preservation:
- Historic Deerfield in Deerfield, MA
- Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA
- The Stone House Museum in Belchertown, MA
- Hancock Shaker Village in Hancock, MA
Remember that food preservation is a great way to support local agricultural traditions too! Check out Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture to locate farms where you can pick pumpkins and apples for canning and making pumpkin and apple butter! Other places to look for support in learning how to preserve the harvest include workshops and classes offered by local businesses, libraries, granges, COA’s, community colleges, and cooperative markets.
Excerpt from Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts (Seasons: Nov/Dec), a downloadable bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.