Growing up I watched my grandmother and mother can and freeze produce from the garden, setting aside or putting away for future use.
We don’t do as much as they did, but when there is a surplus of anything from the garden or if the ancient apple trees produce a bumper crop, applesauce is made and frozen for the winter months.
Now, setting aside means saving materials to use during the winter months in the studio for dyeing of paper and textiles. Last fall, I gathered and dried the long stems of Jerusalem artichoke, the thin golden rods and sacks of various leaves: rose, red maple, dogwood, maple, oak and viburnum. Slowly, over the past months, the stores have been used sparingly, but now with spring here, I am beginning to dye up a storm. Yesterday, I soaked the Jerusalem artichoke leaves and the rhododendron leaves for respective dye baths. Today, I filled the pots with bundled textiles and paper and simmered them along. Tomorrow, I will take them out to cure and unbundle in a few days.
dried Jerusalem artichoke leaves ready for boiling
And for dinner, a jar of frozen pesto from the bumper basil crop of 2012!