Summer, for me, is woven with family traditions – traditions that run deep.
I am fortunate to live in a place rich with berries just waiting to be harvested. As well as berries, some harvest mushrooms, hazelnuts, rose hips and even fire weed.
My childhood was filled with berry picking with my mom, grandmother and a few of my aunts. Our pantries and freezers were filled with the fruits of our labor…pun totally intended.
As an adult, I have continued the tradition and make preserves and freeze berries for baking for my own family, and I thoroughly enjoy learning more from the people in my life.
Just recently, I was introduced to a tasty and spectacularly beautiful mushroom called an Indigo Milk Cap.
I have been busy picking berries to freeze and have made jams and syrups to last until next summer. I anxiously wait for the chokecherries to be ready so I can make another batch or 5 of chokecherry syrup. Chokecherry syrup is not only delicious but, it holds sweet memories of breakfasts sitting beside my grandpa, with bread Granny had freshly made, toasted and smothered with peanut butter. We would poke holes in the toast and pour the syrup onto our toast, letting it seep through to saturate the toast from the bottom. My grandpa’s eyes would sparkle with mischief as he asked if I would like long or short syrup. Asking for long syrup always brought forth laughter that echoed through the home as he would jump on his chair or reach as high as he could to give me “long syrup”.
We would gather rose hips along our walks, snacking on them as we built wildflower bouquets for Mom and Grandma.
Picking berries with the adult women always made me feel part of something special and I will forever treasure those moments spent with my grandma picking berries, sometimes even hazelnuts.
Now, it is my turn, and I love creating tasty treats for my family and friends. I also find it a delicious excuse to get outside, enjoy the fresh air and chill out away from the chaos of the city.