“Putting food by” was a familiar term to our mothers and grandmothers. They knew September and October were harvest months, the time to preserve fruits, vegetables and herbs for use during winter and early spring. They may not have all done it, but they all knew the traditional activities that came with the end of summer– canning, pickling, jelly-making, drying and freezing.
In the last few decades, the boundaries between the seasons have blurred almost to the point of vanishing, along with many of the activities that came with the end of summer and beginning of fall. It’s a little different this year. A combination of concerns about our flagging economy, global warming and food-born illnesses caused record numbers of families to plant vegetable and herb gardens. Farmers markets are opening up all over the country. Once again, there are picture-perfect locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs available for us to put by for winter use.