The first ripe tomato off the vine, warm in the sun and juicy in that sweet bite, brings back all the summers of my childhood. We always had a garden. My dad grew up on a farm. He showed us how to plant tomatoes, green beans, squash and peppers.
The zucchini and the tomatoes seemed to grow the fastest. When the first ones were big enough to eat, it felt like we were rich. Our creativity was put to the test by the end of the season. I’m sure that’s where the recipes for zucchini chocolate cake and fried green tomatoes came from. We needed to find new ways to enjoy the bounty after we had given away bags of summer vegetables to everyone we knew.
By the time steamy August rolled around, we started preparing for the winter. When my sister and my mother and I worked together to can tomatoes, it felt like we stepped into a sauna and someone handed us a sharp knife, some glass jars and a pot of boiling water so we could spend the day together. The tomato juice ran down our arms as we sliced the red deliciousness and stuffed the jars. It was worth it when we finished. We really felt rich when we saw all of those jars filled with tomatoes lining the shelves in the root cellar. We knew that winter would be full of hearty stews, rich chili and homemade lasagna.
All of those memories rushed out to greet me with that first bite under the hot summer sun. What do you remember about your childhood summers? Take time to write it out. They might surprise you. Keep making those memories.