It’s Harvest Time!

It’s hard to believe that another summer at the Haliburton Highlands Museum has flown by and that autumn is upon us! For early settlers to the Haliburton area, this was an incredibly important time of year, as all the crops were coming in off the fields and needed to be preserved for the coming winter. In an era before refrigeration, there would be a mad scramble to can, pickle, dry and salt everything you could.

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We’re used to pickled cucumbers, but how about pickled cauliflower and beans gracing your table? The settlers wouldn’t have had the modern canning equipment we have today, so they would have employed different techniques to seal their preserves, including using animal bladder to cover the jars! The dried bladder would be soaked in water to bring back its elasticity and then stretched over the top of a jar and tied with string. Once it dried it would become an airtight seal, almost like the top of a drum. Another technique involved soaking heavy paper in egg white, then stretching it over the jar – when the egg white dried it would provide an airtight seal. Now, aren’t you glad that we can simply go to the store and buy a jar of jam these days?

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