One thing I have learned through gardening is enjoying the change of the seasons. It gave me an appreciation of the natural rhythms of life. As we move in to fall and the days become shorter, I try to adjust my schedule too. Fall is a prelude to winter, a time of hibernation and introspection. It’s the time that allows us to wind down our projects and activities, so that we may prepare for a quieter time in life. This slowed pace allows us rest, recuperation from busy summer activities that, while fulfilling, are also draining. Fall eases us into this time of reflection. I know I welcome the thought of quiet days with a blanket and a book, something I just don’t make time for during the busy summer months.
Fall reminds me also to make the most of summer harvests. Preserving herbs and the rewards of the garden becomes a focal point. I love food preservation, but these days I rarely have time. So when a friend asked me if I would like a bag of apples given to her by a neighbor, I jumped at the chance! I brought home a heavy bag loaded with local, unsprayed apples freshly picked from the tree.
These apples were perfect for applesauce, so I started peeling. After some seeding and rough chopping, I tossed everything into the slow cooker, added some vanilla and cinnamon along with a little bit of water, set it to low, and let it go. I cooked the apples overnight, and in the morning we woke to the amazing smell of simmering apples.
I pureed the apples into a chunky style applesauce, and the girls and I enjoyed some for breakfast. I wanted to preserve the rest of the sauce but couldn’t do any canning this time, so I just divided it into wide-mouthed mason jars, let it cool in the fridge, then set it in the freezer to keep. This applesauce will be amazing to pull out over the cold days of winter, let it gently warm on the stove, and fill the house with it’s aroma and our bellies with it’s sweetness.
It’s these little rewards that remind us of the joys of the past year, and give us something to look forward to in the coming one. What traditions do you follow in your home to celebrate the seasons?