If you have not read Ray Bradbury’s novel, Dandelion Wine, you are missing one of the most poetic works about the glories of summer and the magic of childhood. Bradbury is known for science fiction stories like Fahrenheit 451, but this novel is about a small town and a boy attempting to capture its mysteries. What does it have to do with Christmas? Quite a lot!
Memorial Day, in addition to being a solemn occasion for remembering the sacrifice that many of our military friends and relatives have made for our country, is the official beginning of summer. Today, my friends were posting on Twitter and Facebook that they were visiting various farmers’ markets. The strawberry season is in full swing. (In addition to spinach, peas, and lettuce.)
Like our fascination with farmers markets, Douglas, the main character in the series of stories that all take place in Greenville, Illinois, picks dandelions several times each summer for his family to make dandelion wine. This wine is then meted out in tiny glasses for celebration and as an elixir when family members are sick.
This is the time to think about the Christmas gifts that are bottled, frozen, and canned “summer.” In fact, you could give a loved one a basket of summer—all the treats that you grew (or bought locally) and made into preserves, frozen treats, or pickled.
I don’t know how to make dandelion wine, but I am willing to learn (and have the raw material at hand). I have strawberries and other fruits of the garden. This year, I’m going to branch out and try some new canning recipes–salsas, jellies and sauces–to share at Christmas.