It’s August 1st. Lammas to some. Lughnasadh to others. Just another day to most of the world.
It’s a seasonal holiday. We’re halfway between the summer solstice and the fall equinox. The first harvests are coming in – for some, they’ve been coming in, for others, we’re still waiting.
I’ve already harvested all my raspberries. Strawberries were done in June. I’m still waiting on my tomatoes, though. They got a late start this year, so I’m hoping they’ll make it before first frost in October. We’ll see. If necessary, I can always move the ones in pots to my grow room in the basement before frost where they’ll stay warm.
Lammas was traditionally a time of celebrating those first harvests, and finishing off the last of last years preserves.
I do not have any preserves from last year – I’m just getting started on the hands-on aspects of my homesteading journey, though I’ve been planning and studying for decades.
But I can connect to the ancestral traditions of my western and northern European lineage. Traditions that until the forced conversions to Christianity were intimately tied to the seasons – and to the survival of the village.
Today, that means baking bread and pickling eggs. The bread will be part of this evening’s meal; the eggs won’t be enjoyed for a few weeks.
And so in this way, I’m both celebrating the moment, this procession of the seasons, while also preparing for the future.
Most of us don’t need to prepare for the winter in quite the same way our ancestors did. For most of us, an empty pantry can be remedied by a trip to the store. For those of us living in poverty, like myself, that might mean scrounging up change in an emergency to buy some ramen to get by until the next pay, or even an emergency trip to a food bank, but most people living in the Western world aren’t so dependent on seasonal preparations as our ancestors were.
I think this disconnection from the seasons does us a disservice. It keeps us from preparing in advance, and in so doing disconnects us from our future selves. We don’t need to prepare for long cold seasons hunkered down with no grocery stores. We don’t need to think about what our future self might need because we have the Capitalist consumer assumption that when we need something, it will be there for us to buy at some store. Just go to Amazon and you can find damn near anything you like. With free Prime shipping even. I just got two pounds of chia seeds for $7 yesterday. They’ll last me a month or two, then I can just order another two pound container of them.
So I’m using today to reconnect to my future self. To ask Her what she needs, and to start putting a plan in place to have it ready for Her, so she’s not scrambling in the way that I have frequently scrambled in the past because of poor preparation.
Design Your Own Pickled Eggs
- Clean glass jar with plastic lid. (Vinegar corrodes metal lids.)
- 12 eggs
- 3 cups vinegar Any type of vinegar will do. Experiment to find what you like best.
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp salt Table salt, sea salt, pink salt. Whatever you have on hand is just fine
- ⅓ cup sugar Raw sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, etc. Again, what you have on hand is fine.
- various spices and seasonings Garlic, peppercorn, and pickling spice are common, but feel free to experiment with these in each batch you make. Turmeric lends a lovely flavor and color, for example.
- beets, red cabbage, or red onions (optional) One or all of these will add color to your pickled eggs, but will also add flavor.
- Hard boil your eggs using your preferred method. Cool and peel them.
- Put vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a non-aluminum saucepan. (The vinegar reacts to aluminum and isn't so great.) Add your spices. (If you're using garlic, dill, or turmeric, leave those out of the pan.)
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat. Turn it way down. You want a gentle simmer for five minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool for about 15-20 minutes.
- Stuff your eggs in a jar(s). Add garlic, dill, or turmeric if you're using them.
- Pour your brine mixture (vinegar, water, salt, spices) to the jar and cap tightly.
- Stick in the fridge and let sit for 2-4 weeks.
- Will keep for about 3-4 months without pressure canning. Longer with pressure canning.