Friday, 3 October 2008

For Home and Country . . .

(Click on photo to enlarge)

No, I've not joined the WI - though indeed I ought to. This is the title of a book I bought in the junky antique shop (as we call it) on the way to Brecon recently. I couldn't resist it. The middle photograph above, which is on the back cover, shows staunch WI members making jam. It tickled me pink as they have their pinnies on, and each of them has her hat on indoors too! I'm not sure when it dates to, but possibly WWII with the jam making for the war effort. I know in the First World War, school children in rural areas went out to pick blackberries for jam making for the war effort. However, in the 2nd World War, during 1941 Fruit Preservation Centres were set up. Householders were asked to donate all privately grown fruit not required for immediate consumption so it might be added to the national store cupboard for those days when fresh fruit was not available. The Minstry of Food issued an instruction that all soft fruit might only be used for jam making. Bottling and canning of fruit was also carried out at some centres where the facilities existed for doing so.

In February 1940, jam rationing had been introduced (along with other foods such as meat, fish, tea, biscuits, breakfast cereal, cheese, eggs, milk and canned fruit). Bacon, butter and sugar had already been rationed a month earlier.

Some 4,148 Fruit Preservation centres had been registered at the time the WI article was written. The article shows WI members picking fruit, sorting it, boiling the jam and potting it. Some 3,750 pounds of jam were made in 1942. At one centre - Bearsted and Thurnham in West Kent, over 800 lbs of jam was made in just six days. "The good work included canning and will go on until plum time comes to and end." I presume not just WI women were volunteers, but any women from the locality.

It makes my own efforts look positively feeble!

1 comment:

Goosey said...

That makes my efforts seem very feeble...all I have made recently is some lemon marmalade. I confess I haven't picked a single blackberry and so no blackberry and apple crumble this year. Your bowl of fruit looks wonderful though, BW Goosey