Pitch Black

Has anyone ever told you that carrots are good for your eyes and will help you see better at night?  If you’re like me, you were told this by a parent or grandparent that probably heard it first during World War II. Here’s where it all began…

 

From my hometown newspaper (The Ripon Commonwealth in Ripon, Wisconsin):

 

A test black-out will be made on Friday Evening, September 18, 1942 9:00 to 9:15 o’clock.

 

Air raid wardens are asked to prepare their respective areas for this black-out and see that he following general instructions are carried out:

 

  1. All lights and illumination outside or visible from the outside of any building, either through doors, windows, skylights, or otherwise, shall be immediately put out. Lights inside any building may be kept on or turned on only where no lighting is visible from the outside.
  2. No door, window or other exit shall be opened if the opening of the same will allow light to be visible from the outside.
  3. All lights on any signs or billboard or other similar structure shall be immediately put out.
  4. All street, traffic and beacon lights shall be immediately put out.
  5. All persons, except duly authorized persons, shall immediately leave all streets, squares parks and open spaces and shall proceed to the nearest cover, avoiding the crossing of streets, alleys and other public places as much as possible.
  6. Operators of vehicular traffic shall immediately draw to the side of the highway or street and stop in such a manner and in such a place so as not to double park or obstruct the reasonable use of the highway or street, fire hydrant or police or fire station driveway or other emergency driveway. Extinguish all lights.
  7. No person shall wear any arm band or other insignia issued by the Fond du Lac County Council of Defense unless he shall be entitled to wear the same under the rules and regulations of said Council of Defense.

 

Not common inland as much as coastal areas, black-outs seemed to be one of the scariest realities of nation at war. Pitch black. Everywhere. To avoid aerial landmark detection should a bomber threaten the heartland and major supplier of food, black-out drills were important.

 

Have you ever noticed stop lights have a shield over the top of each light? The addition of the top shields and traffic lights were a result of World War II and the need to minimize the appearance of streets and heavily populated areas to hide from bombers overhead.

Oh, and those carrots? Well, it turns out the rate of accidents and injuries dramatically increased during black out times.  Drivers and pedestrians had a harder time seeing and avoiding each other. It was a problem for sure and one of the safety advisories given by the government that stuck in the mind of my grandmother — eat carrots.  They help you see better in the dark.

Betty…Rosie…Please Meet My Dear Friend – Diana Prince

Betty Crocker and Rosie the Riveter held their own as fictional female super heroines of WWII. But, let’s not forget Wonder Woman who made her debut in 1941.

 

Prior to television, media entertainment consisted of radio shows, newspapers, and comic books. The latter being sold at a rate of 15 million a month. Rationed supplies of paper and war production make it difficult to document how comic book sales held during the war, but it is no accident that their continued popularity led to the introduction of a women super hero who fought war with love instead of violence.

 

Created in a time when women were increasingly asked to take on some male roles — factory work, wearing pants, holding down the home front, etc. William Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman, based a character on his own wife, Elizabeth, who was ahead of her time in regards to what was socially acceptable for women.

 

While women were not encouraged to earn a degree, Elizabeth held three. She was an attorney and a Harvard-graduated psychologist. Elizabeth was on the front lines of women’s liberation, specifically on voting equality and reproduction rights. Her husband’s motivation behind creating the comic heroine in 1941 was to influence the public into accepting a new independent woman. Wonder Woman was incredibly capable, yet beautiful, kind and still feminine.

 

Wonder Woman was quickly met with resistance, dressed in her short skirt and a revealing top that had no straps. She was deemed, “insufficiently dressed”. It took roughly a year for the creator of Wonder Woman to come forward. The public outcry of indecency was met with the identity of an internationally famous psychologist (William and Elizabeth had met at Harvard pursuing their psychology degrees). And it was good that Wonder Woman’s creator was a psychologist as the skeptical crowd needed to hear that such a heroine was not a bad thing.

 

Dr. Marston was pushed to explain how the character was not a detriment to public decency and young minds. As Marston once put it, “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.”

 

As her acceptance and popularity grew, so did the team responsible for making Diana Prince…err, Wonder Woman, who she is today.  Dr. Marston died in 1947, but Wonder Woman and her fight for peace continued under the creative mind of Joyce Hummel who was only 18 years old in 1944 when she was hired to write the comic strip.

 

Even though Wonder Woman was created before the US entered WWII, influences from the conflict and Hummel’s young age during the war play a huge role on the core values of Wonder Woman’s story. The original outfit was American patriotic, of course – blue with white stars, red top. Pin-up poses are reminiscent of nose art on a bomber.

Oh…one more thing, Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth?  It turns out Dr. Marston is the original inventor of the lie detector.  Photos of the prototype device show test subjects wrapped in wires that measure pulse and blood pressure.  Wires…closely resembling a truth lasso of sorts.

 

 

Source:  http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/origin-story-wonder-woman-180952710/#p3A6sfvzRTReOGyi.99

Milkweed the Hero Plant

Milkweed…

Today, nature lovers treasure the common milkweed because it offers crucial habitat to the disappearing Monarch butterfly. But back in 1944, military planners treasured the plant as a raw material in the war against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

 

Milkweed seeds have white, wispy hairs referred to as “floss”. When the seed pod cracks open, the seeds are distributed by the winds, an ingenious evolutionary adaption for survival.

 

In an era before the pervasive use of synthetic fibers, the value of milkweed floss lay in its buoyancy. The US government used it in the manufacture of life preservers needed for its airman and sailors. Life preservers were critical to Allied success, since so much of the war was fought on or over water.

 

One problem, though, was that it would take upward of three years to produce a commercial crop of milkweed to supply the need. Thus the government had no choice but to make the unusual call for the collection of seed pods wherever the plant grew wild.

 

Schoolchildren spent untold hours walking fencerows, roadsides and railroad right of ways looking for milkweed, which before the war was considered little more than a weed.

 

Onion sacks were distributed to the kids to carry the collected pods, and children received 15¢ per bag. It is estimated that 11 million pounds of milkweed floss were gathered during the war and may be the reason why certain species of the plant are now threatened by extinction.

 

I came across several milkweed plants in various stages on my parents’ farm in Central Wisconsin. It’s not a pretty plant, but it sure is an important plant both historically and currently!

 

Consider planting milkweed in honor of the crucial role it played to the success of our country. What a comeback it would be for a “weed” that gave its life in order to save the lives of our troops during the war. In return, we can pay it forward by saving the lives of monarch butterflies.  https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/

It’s In the Bag


An ad from a late 1943 Woman’s Day Magazine reads:
There are two major ways that you can help s-t-r-e-t-c-h the paper supply:

1. By taking goods from stores unwrapped whenever practicable, and by using your own containers when possible.

2. By salvaging all types of waste paper – newspapers, magazines, containers.

Imagine a time when plastic bags were not even an imagined shopping convenience. While it is popular to use cloth bags now, it’s not as widely practiced as it should be. Have you ever stopped to think why it’s necessary to use a bag at all when you purchase one or two items from a store? Why the bag?

I’ve embarrassed my hubby again at the grocery store check out line. I bring my own bags and I insist that nothing be pre-wrapped in plastic before putting it in my cloth bags. The baggers frequently argue with me about the safety of wrapping meat, cleaning supplies, and non-edible items before putting them in my bag.

Here’s where I start to embarrass my hubby: I ask the bagger if he/she notices that the cleaning products are already contained in plastic bottles. And, not only that, but they contain an aluminum-type safety seal under their plastic top. Why would I need to triple-protect them in a plastic bag for the two-mile trip home? Meat is packaged; yeah, I get it – sometimes meat packages get messy from the meat counter it is stored in at the store. So noted. But, everything I buy is wrapped in its own plastic and/or box. It still does not come in direct contact with another item that is not wrapped.

I buy bulk soap. It is often in a rack where you get to cut your own block from a large block. It’s part of the fun of buying it this way. When I encountered a particularly stubborn bagger who was extremely intent to wrap my soap in its own bag, I had to remind her that the soap was actually going to be used on my body. She still protested about it coming in contact with food I eat. Really?

I’m not saying it’s safe to eat soap (in fact, isn’t that a child-protective services violation these days). But, when it comes to waste, particularly plastic-bag waste, can’t we get over it and just put that brick of fine-smelling soap on top of the box of granola wrapped inside wax paper inside the cardboard box? I think so.

The Sugar Rules

Today, easily available and cheap, sugar, along with corn syrup, is the number one food additive in the United States. Made from sugar cane or sugar beets, it takes a number of forms: white or refined sugar; brown sugar, which is incompletely refined and retains some molasses that gives it color; confectioners’ sugar; and molasses itself, produced during refining. For white sugar, the refining process involves half a dozen steps, starting with the crushing of the cane. The resulting liquid is filtered to remove impurities and the color of the molasses that coated the sucrose crystals of the raw sugar; then the liquid is evaporated and dries into granulated white sugar. If you are avoiding “processed foods”, you must avoid any type of sugar. It doesn’t exist without processing.

 

Now and Then

Sugar provides quick energy, but its nutritional value is essentially nil. Yet, modern-day Americans consume, on average, about 150 pounds of it a year per person in food or drinks, the equivalent of about 32 teaspoons per day. 100 years ago, Americans consumed 4 pounds per person annually.

A visual: Consider today’s Sam’s Club option of a 25-pound bag of sugar, “convenient size”, and “great for baking and everyday use”. In 2017 consumption terms, we will buy six of these bags and store them in our big pantry. In 1917, my great-grandmother would stretch one of these Sam’s Club bags of sugar over five years!

 

Ohhh Yeeeaaahhh

The WWII ration rules allow my household one cup of sugar per person (including children), per week. At first it doesn’t sound too bad. The 25-pound of Sam’s Club sugar should get me and my hubby through six months of sugar rationing. But, to put it in terms of Kool-Aid making, one cup of sugar in the Kool-Aid mix would mean I am out for that week after one pitcher!  Sigh.

 

For my household, two cups of sugar per week means I don’t bake like I used to. If there’s sugar in the cupboard at the end of the month, I make a pie or a cake. But then we’re wiped out until the new month rolls around.

So What’s a Girl to do?

Under the tight constraints of the rations and workload, more and more home makers were turning to store-bought pastries and desserts. After all, commercial bakeries were not mandated to the same constraints of sugar rationing. At a time when “comfort food” and mom’s apple pie would arguably steady nerves and war emotions, commercialism was stepping in. Many established home makers of the time were well-aware of the intrusion from outside-the-home providers for their family. They didn’t like it. I can’t say I blame them. It was a literal bittersweet goodbye to a long-honored tradition of showing love through homemade food.

Kitchen Work Efficiency

Americans on the home front wanted to know what they could do at home to do their part in winning the war. The mantra, “Waste Nothing” was always the short answer. Waste nothing meant efficiency of every possible resource and thing, including time and human energy.

 

Efficient home making was the goal in homes across America during WWII. In a Woman’s Day magazine ad during winter of 1943, extensive testing is described that proves the Old Dutch Cleanser with Seisomtite is more economical and efficient than any other brand.

Advertisement for Old Dutch Cleanser published in 1943.

Advertisement for Old Dutch Cleanser published in 1943.

It ‘cleans your bathtub 34 more times than any other leading cleanser’, ‘your sink 69 more times’, ‘your favorite pan (which they describe as a 2-quart aluminum pan) 77 more times’, ‘your washbowl 97 more times’, and ‘your broiler pan 48 more times’.

 

The ad goes on to say ‘you should get one can for the bathroom, one for the kitchen and another for the laundry to save steps.’  This is not a bad idea! I have located a cleaning supply kit on each floor on my home — the upstairs, main level, and basement level. Having all that I need without pulling it out and lugging things up or down stairs is actually a huge time-saver and nearly half the battle when it comes to just starting the project of cleaning an area.

 

WWII had everyone thinking about highest possible efficiency. By the time the war ended and between 1946 and 1949, the University of Illinois School of Architecture Small Homes Council-Building Research studies introduced the world to their “work triangle” design study. The work triangle continues to serve as a standard of good kitchen design. The sink, stove, and refrigerator serve as the cornerstones of the triangle that make it possible to reduce wasted steps in time-motion studies originated for industrial applications in the late 1800’s studied by Frederick Winslow Taylor.

 

The kitchen work triangle principle:

  • No leg of the triangle should be less than 4 feet or more than 9 feet.
  • The sum of all three sides of the triangle should be between 13 feet and 26 feet.
  • Cabinets or other obstacles should not intersect any leg of the triangle by more than 12 inches.
  • If possible, there should be no major traffic flow through the triangle.
  • A full-height obstacle, such as a tall cabinet, should not come between any two points of the triangle.

 

Besides the work triangle itself, there are several rules of thumb to consider when planning a kitchen:

  • As measured between counter tops and cabinets or appliances, work aisles should be no less than 42 inches for one cook, or 48 inches for multiple cooks.
  • A sink should have a clear counter area of at least 24 inches on one side, and at least 18 inches on the other side.
  • A refrigerator should have a clear counter area of at least 15 inches on the handle side; or the same on either side of a side-by-side refrigerator; or the same area on a counter no more than 48 inches across from the refrigerator.
  • A stove or cook top should have a clear 15 inches area on one side, and at least 12 inches on the other side.
  • At least 36 inches of food preparation area should be located next to the sink.
  • In a seating area where no traffic passes behind the diner, allow 32 inches from the wall to the edge of the table or counter; if traffic passes behind the diner, allow 44 inches.
My kitchen.

My kitchen.

So, how efficiently designed is my kitchen?

  • No leg of the triangle should be less than 4 feet or more than 9 feet: I have two triangle legs that measure 44”, falling short by 4” to be efficiently designed.
  • The sum of all three sides of the triangle should be between 13 feet and 26 feet: My sum of legs is 158”, a mere two inches above the appropriate distance.
  • Cabinets or other obstacles should not intersect any leg of the triangle by more than 12 inches: No problems here.
  • If possible, there should be no major traffic flow through the triangle: No problems here.
  • A full-height obstacle, such as a tall cabinet, should not come between any two points of the triangle: No problems here.
  • As measured between counter tops and cabinets or appliances, work aisles should be no less than 42 inches for one cook, or 48 inches for multiple cooks: My aisles are 44”.
  • A sink should have a clear counter area of at least 24 inches on one side, and at least 18 inches on the other side: My sink has 18” exactly and 40” of counter space.
  • A refrigerator should have a clear counter area of at least 15 inches on the handle side; or the same on either side of a side-by-side refrigerator; or the same area on a counter no more than 48 inches across from the refrigerator: My counter on the handle side is 41”. My other counter, outside of the triangle is 36”. Being outside of the triangle, it hardly ever gets used! Now I know why.
  • A stove or cook top should have a clear 15 inches area on one side, and at least 12 inches on the other side: My counter tops on each side of the stove are 44” and 52”.
  • At least 36 inches of food preparation area should be located next to the sink: I have 39” of food prep area on the right side of the sink. Space inside the triangle is used often. The area outside of the triangle is not used very much at all and clutter accumulates there. 
  • In a seating area where no traffic passes behind the diner, allow 32 inches from the wall to the edge of the table or counter; if traffic passes behind the diner, allow 44 inches: Two counter top chairs are well within the 44” rule. When we moved into our home, there was an area set aside for a table between the counter and patio door area. It had a low-hanging lamp above the table area and was in the path of the pantry closet and patio door. No wonder it had to go! It felt extremely jarring to sit there. It’s math!! The math explains it all!
My kitchen's work triangle.

My kitchen’s work triangle.

Shiny & Brite

DSC06162One of my most favorite traditions of Christmas is decorating two trees in my home with vintage Shiny Brite ornaments.  I jam-pack the trees full and the light they give off shines throughout the room and into the darkness outside the windows. I love the story behind the American company and how the war lent to its success.  Shiny Brite AdShiny Brite Factory III
Shiny Brite Factory

In 1937, Max Eckardt established Shiny Brite ornaments, working with the Corning Glass company to mass-produce machine-blown glass Christmas ornaments. Eckardt had been importing hand-blown glass balls from Germany since 1907, but had the foresight to anticipate a disruption in his supply from the upcoming war. Corning adapted their process for making light bulbs to making clear glass ornaments, which were then shipped to Eckardt’s factories to be decorated by hand. The fact that Shiny Brite ornaments were an American-made product was stressed as a selling point during World War II when Americans turned away from German-made products.

Dating of the ornaments is often facilitated by studying the hook. The first Shiny Brite ornaments had the traditional metal cap and loop, with the hook attached to the loop, from which the ornament was hung from the tree. DSC06153

The first wartime ornaments were made from glass, but were not silvered on the inside. That made them appear very dull, so very quickly they were decorated with a sprig of tinsel on the inside to make them sparkle. As the war effort intensified, even this practice was abandoned because every piece of metal was needed and frivolous use of metal was not patriotic. The metal caps were replaced with a cardboard tab, from which the owner would use yarn or string to hang the ornament.

DSC06214

Eventually, the clear glass ball had only small stripes of paint for its decoration. Red was the favorite color during the 1940s, with silver and blue tying for second, and green coming in third.  DSC06159

They were packaged in solid brown cardboard boxes, and later enhanced with a cellophane window and featured the words “American Made”.Shiny Brite Box

Following the war, Shiny Brite introduced a line of ornaments with a newly designed metal hook that provided the user with two lengths of hanger. The long hook traveled through the center of the ornament and exited the bottom, whereit attached to the foot of the ornament. This provided the “short” hanger. Unlatched from the bottom, the entire length of the hook was available, allowing the ornament to dangle at a greater distance from the tree limb to which it was attached. This arrangement was designed to allow the ornament to fill sparse areas of a natural tree.

The increasing popularity of the aluminum artificial Christmas tree, first manufactured in 1958, made this hanger device far less attractive to the consumer, as an artificial tree had no gaps to be filled. The added expense of the lengthy hanging wire coupled with the diminishing need caused this feature to be discontinued in 1960.

During its peak, Shiny Brite had four factories in New Jersey. The company’s main office and showroom were located at 45 East 17th Street in New York City. They stopped selling in the 1960’s, and weren’t made at all by the 1970’s.Shiny Brite Name

Shiny Brite’s most popular ornaments have been reissued under the same trademark by Christopher Radko since 2001, but to me there is no comparison for the original. I don’t always have the details of Christmas stories and memories when I come across a surviving box of Shiny Brites at estate sales, but I like to imagine the trees in the homes where they hung at the time from their cardboard tops.

In a time of war, there was hope and a quiet time to hang ornaments on a tree and reflect on the meaning of the season.

(History Sources: Wikipedia, www.goldenglow.org.)

Self-Service

Things have a way of coming around again. By that I mean, grocery delivery as an example. Prior to World War II housewives called in their grocery order to their grocer, who they most certainly knew on a first name basis. The friendly neighborhood grocer would put the order together and have their delivery boys deliver it to the home. Mr. Grocer would likely send a bill at the end of the month.

 

Surely, this type of shopping made the world a lot smaller. Smaller orders, more frequently. And having a personal shopper meant someone knew you and your household very intimately. Imagine having a personal grocer today doing your shopping – they’d know when a baby joined the house, when you adopted a new dog, when you tried the newest diet fad and then went on to the next.

 

An IGA announcement in the April 1943 hometown paper made it clear how grocery shopping during WWII would be forever changed:
“Dear Patron,

 

In order to comply with the recommendations of our government, for the conservation of Manpower, Gasoline and Rubber, we announce the following change in our policy:

 

Beginning Monday, April 19, 1943, we will be on a strict carry-out basis. While this is a direct contribution to our national war effort, it will also permit us to pass along many savings so made. We are sure the change will work no undue hardship and ask your cooperation at this time.

 

We welcome the opportunity of serving you in our new self-service and carry-out plan. For your convenience, we will arrange to prepare orders on a “will call” or by payment of a small delivery charge. Delivery charges will be made according to the size of the order and paid the City Delivery upon leaving the store.

 

We wish to thank you for your valued patronage.

 

Yours for Victory,

Ramsey’s IGA Store

Ray R. Hildebrandt, Manager

 

The advertisement goes on to state the New Policy:

  1. Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Display.
  2. Shopping made easier – with open shelf displays and self-service push carts.
  • No Delay! Shop quickly or leisurely as you like.
  1. Clerks to help you.
  2. All items plainly marked with prices and points.
  3. Everyday low prices!

 

Store Delivery Rules

What the advertising is describing is the birth of modern grocery shopping. Bulk shopping would come later, to the mind-boggling astonishment of my grandparents’ generation.

 

Were the changes to grocery shopping for the good?  How was manpower, gasoline and rubber saved if instead of a grocer making deliveries switched to all his customers coming to the store individually? What long-term effect did the change have on customer service? Is it convenience that is bringing some people to grocery delivery services like Peadpod and Door-To-Door Organics (two I have used myself)? At a time when homemaking was desperate for convenience, was this an example of contrary change?

 

As I think about the advertisement, I can’t help but think about how the new policy led to modern patterns of consumerism and self-indulgence that leads to obesity. For such a small advertisement in the paper, the results were huge.

Grocery Store - Self Serve

Vintage Lemonade Like Great, Great, Great Grandma Used to Make

Here is a sad fact: the powdered concoctions found in the drink mix aisle labeled as “lemonade” are not real. Not even close. And for anyone who has never had a true and genuine glass of lemonade, I worry that life may pass by without ever having a real, honest-to-goodness glass of genuine lemonade.

 

As I pour myself a second glass of vintage lemonade, I think about what it must have been like when my great-grandmother tasted her first sip of the fake stuff. I bet they thought the fad would never catch on. Certainly people would not be satisfied with the missing flavor of the powder, nor would they ever believe it could be passed off as good.

 

Sadly, convenience won out and we’re likely on to a fourth generation of kids not knowing what lemonade is supposed to taste like.

Kool-Aid® may be considered by soKool-Aid 1940sme to be vintage. Invented in 1927 by Edwin Perkins in Hastings, Nebraska, (more specifically in his mother’s kitchen until 1931 when he moved to Chicago), the mix was introduced in six flavors: cherry, grape, lemon-lime, orange, raspberry and strawberry. The popularity of the drink mix didn’t explode until 1953 when Hastings sold the product to General Mills and “Oh Yeah” Kool-Aid Man® became the spokesperson. Now manufactured in Mexico, the mix is also good for temporarily dying hair to match the fake colors found in the packet.

 

No better, Countrytime Lemonade® was introduced in 1975, by the same parent company as Kool-Aid®. It appealed to many as a more grown-up image for adults who didn’t drink buy their lemonade from a talking pitcher of sugar water.

 

Enough about the fake stuff. Let’s move on to the good stuff. Yes, it takes time. Yes, your counter will end up a sticky mess before you’re through with the straining and pouring. But, you won’t even remember all that once you take your first wonderful sip.

IMG_20160731_144650587

5 Lemons

1 ¼ Cup White Sugar

1 ¼ Quarts Water (38 ounces)

 

Peel the rinds from the lemons and cut them into ½ inch slices and place in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the sugar over them. Let stand for about one hour.

IMG_20160731_145244750

Bring water to boil in a covered saucepan and then remove from heat. Add sugared rinds to the hot water. Allow this mixture to cool for 20 minutes. Remove rinds.

IMG_20160731_160041575

Squeeze the lemons into another bowl and then strain to remove seeds.

 

Pour lemon juice into sugar mixture and then pour all into a glass pitcher.

IMG_20160731_162221639

93 Pounds of Sugar

Twice in a year, Mrs. Ben Prochnow of Markesan, Wisconsin was allowed two large quantity ration certificates for sugar for canning purposes.  On June 13, 1942 Mrs. Prochnow received 39 pounds of sugar and on August 14, 1942 Mrs. Prochnow received 54 pounds of sugar.

Mrs Ben Prochnow

As the policy went, the summer ration was set to each person being allotted one pound of sugar per 4 ½ quarts of fruit, plus an additional one pound for canning of preserves. The fall ration however, mention anxiety on the part of the government (OPA office) that “government is as anxious to have all available fruit canned as it is to conserve sugar. For that reason local boards have been instructed to issue sugar purchase certificates at the second canning sugar registration based entirely upon legitimate requirements of sugar.”  The base calculation would still be one pound of sugar for four quarts of canned fruit. Housewives — in this case, Farmwife, would need to come to the registration point with a worksheet in hand showing her calculations to receive her fair share.

 

On the honor system, women calculated their kitchen work and even though there seemed to be rule of plenty, they still took to other suggestions of stretching canning and preserving rations.

 

Sure-Jell advertised more than twice as many glasses of jelly, jam or marmalade with their product. Touted as “Sensible” and “Patriotic”, who wouldn’t be caught not using it?

Be Patriotic

According to the 1943 Canning for Victory pamphlet, compiled by the Rector’s Guild of the Grace Episcopal Church in Madison Wisconsin, canning seasons in North Central States looked something like this:

 

 

June: Pineapple, Rhubarb, Strawberries

July: Cherries, Currants, Gooseberries, Huckleberries, Raspberries

August: Blackberries, Peaches, Plums

September: Apples, Crab-apples, Grapes, Peaches, Pears, Quinces

 

Vegetables:

June: Asparagus, Beans, Carrots, Greens, Peas

July: Beans (string), Carrots, Corn, Greens

August: Beans (string), Beans (lima), Beets, Corn, Tomatoes

September: Pumpkin, Tomatoes

 

Fowl:

September: Chicken, Guinea-hen

October: Duck, Grouse, Pheasant, Partridge

November: Duck, Grouse, Partridge, Rabbit, Turkey

December: Duck, Grouse, Partridge, Turkey

 

The pamphlet states that as little as ¼ cup sweeting to 1 ½ cups of water may be used if desired. Fruits may be canned with or without sugar, but the color, flavor and shape of the fruits are better if a little sugar is added. When canned without sugar, no water need be added to juicy fruits as berries, cherries, currants or plums.

 

Backtracking…the difference between jelly, jam, preserves and marmalade? In a nutshell here it is:

 

In jelly, the fruit comes in the form of fruit juice. In jam, the fruit comes in the form of fruit pulp or crushed fruit and is less stiff than jelly as a result. In preserves, the fruit comes in the form of chunks in a syrup or a jam. And finally, in marmalade a fruit preserve is made from the juice and peel of citrus fruits boiled with sugar and water.

surejellstrawberryjam

If we were to imagine what Mrs. Prochnow’s fruit cellar looked like at the end of canning season, with her total 93 pounds of sugar and saying she did not incorporate the advice for stretching her allotment, we would likely see 25 quarts of canned fruits and preserves all lined up on shelves in pretty summer and autumnal tones. More likely, she did use the advice and made smaller batches of pints. Perhaps an entire wall would be lined with 50 various types of fruits. Add it to the vegetables and non-sweet produce and you would see a full room of Mrs. Prochnow’s work. What a sight it must have been. canning

« Older Entries