Amish customs barely change with each new generation. Observing the performance of ordinary tasks might appear to an outsider as a step back in time.
Storage of surplus food is an Amish housewife’s responsibility. In preparation for the winter months, Amish women “put up,” or can, several hundred jars of fruits, vegetables and meats each year.
After the start of school in the fall, Amish farm wives complete the preserving of the food. Glass jars are scrubbed, sterilized and filled, then stored on numerous shelves in the cellar. Sauerkraut, an Amish favorite, is prepared for fermentation and stored in crocks left on the porch for seven to 10 days.
Preferring a simple lifestyle, the Amish believe in keeping their lives separate from outside diversions. Although a decision by Amish leaders in 1919 led to the permanent absence of electricity, some have gas-powered generators, allowing for the use of refrigerators at home.
Stacked chunks of ice removed from ponds and streams in the area provide a type of “freezer” in Amish basements. In some instances, foods may be transferred to a rented frozen locker in town if needed.
On the homestead, the kitchen is the main gathering place where the Amish family enjoys the carefully preserved and stored harvest throughout the year.