I remember when I was younger living at home. I’d wake up during the summer and the house would be quiet. I’d look around for a minute and notice my mom not around. I’d look out the back window and see her in the garden picking beans. I remember not wanting to bother her with any questions at this time because I’d be roped into picking beans as well. But never failing, when those buckets of beans entered the house, my mom rounded all the kids to start snapping. It didn’t matter if you wanted to sleep in, watch TV or go hang out with friends. It didn’t matter what you thought you had planned. The beans were ready to be picked. So…you snapped beans first and played later. This happened a couple times each summer.
Then of course there was salsa day. I liked salsa day a lot more than I liked bean days. There wasn’t a whole we could do to help with the salsa without just getting in the way, so it was usually a free day. My mom would labor over a hot stove, blanching tomatoes, cooking salsa, prepping and sealing the jars. The kitchen was hot while the onions and jalapenos lingered in the air much longer, burning your eyes as you entered the room. There was an open bag of chips sitting by the stove that my mom would occasionally grab a chip and take a dip, just for a little taste test. I knew this process. I knew it well.
So in my married and domestic days I find myself following my mother’s footsteps. We have a great garden, and have ever since we’ve moved here. We’ve tried growing a number of things as well as our staple items (i.e. tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers) but they never produce like we’d like them to. So this year I stuck to the basics: 8 tomato, 3 zucchini, 6 cucumber.
You can imagine my disappointment when our yard/basement (more on that later) flooded. Water stayed in the garden for several days and when it finally dispersed, my poor plants were devastated. I was devastated. My dreams of salsa and zucchini bread quickly faded.
My friend informed me that there was a coop where she was going to be buying a 20lb box of tomatoes, which is the exact amount you need for a batch of salsa. My mom always says making the salsa isn’t really worth it when you have to buy your tomatoes, but I was desperate. Our salsa supply was dwindling quickly and wouldn’t last until next year. So I bought a box.
When I got the box of tomatoes I realized just how ripe they were, with some already spoiling. So Monday was our salsa day. It didn’t matter that I had grand plans of home organization and cleaning. The tomatoes just don’t wait. So I put everything on hold, just like my mom always did, and I canned salsa.
It took me a good portion of my day and by the end I was tired and felt sick to my stomach. I consumed nearly a pint of salsa in frequent taste testing!!
Steve got home from work last night and kept complaining that his eyes were burning. I smiled. I must have done something right because that’s how I remember feeling when I was younger!!