Canning and preserving vegetables
Vegetables and fruit were preserved and canned to be eaten during the winter. Norma Ehlers remembers how her family canned vegetables.
“First of all, plant your garden, hoe your garden, pick the food, tomatoes, beans, peas…turnips …You take the ends off, both ends of the bean, and then…put them in a pan of water and then from that you…would…put the beans directly into the jar and put water and salt in that jar …that rubber ring would go on that and the lid would screw on that and then you’d put them down in a water bath or a pressure cooker… the water would get boiling and that would cook the beans, and…there wasn’t spoilage…My mom used to make vegetable soup… She’d put some carrots and some tomatoes and some peas and beans and everything together…Then, in the wintertime we would cook it up and then put all those delicious vegetables into it and have a wonderful soup.” — Norma Ehlers (Quicktime required)
Least Favorite Chores
Every child had favorite chores and chores they didn’t like to do. Ruth Nettleton said she didn’t like churning cream into butter.
“We had a big old barrel churn. And I suppose about five gallons of cream at a time was put in a churn and then you churned it. And you cranked it. And you couldn’t do it fast… So you had to make it thump as it went down so it would work. And I didn’t like to churn.” — Ruth Nettleton (Quicktime required)
Ruth also didn’t like the chore of cleaning the chicken manure out of the chicken house to be used as fertilizer on the family’s garden. She didn’t like going to the outhouse when it was muddy or rainy. And she didn’t like the smell of kerosene lamps. One of Harvey Pickrel’s chores was plucking the feathers from the chicken after it was killed. He disliked it so much, he doesn’t like to eat chicken to this day.
Chickens were very important to farm families. They gathered and ate the eggs, and killed and ate the chickens. Eggs were sold in town to make a little bit of money. Children gathered eggs, sometimes risking a peck on the hand from angry hens. Albert Friesen gathered eggs as a child in the 1920s, and helped his father raise chickens. “We had a chicken …would lay about 12 to 15 eggs…and then she would sit on those eggs until they hatched.” Like most children, he also disliked cleaning the chicken coop. Hollis Miller said one of his chores was plucking the feathers off the chicken after it had been killed. His mother finished preparing the chicken and the family enjoyed a wonderful chicken dinner.
Written by Claudia Reinhardt.