Thursday, July 7, 2011

Of Course I Can!!

ican this poster is part of a fabulous art exhibit on the war art used to encourage women to preserve foods for Allied Victory

check out the collection by clicking on the photo above

The more we try to eat locally and seasonally, the more I appreciate food.  No matter what your thoughts about food politics, its just plain true that our erasure of food seasons from our reality in North America has diminished our appreciation for individual foods.  If you can get strawberries all year round at a “reasonable” price (I put reasonable in quotation marks because I could write a whole post about how the strawberries you are buying in Canada or the northern US in the middle of the winter, on top of being terrible in quality compared to the real deal, were grown far away by people making a poor wage in poor working conditions, likely in unsustainable agricultural practices, and thus the price you are paying is a misrepresentation of what it *should* cost to eat a strawberry in the middle of the winter.  It should be ridiculously expensive, a rare treat, but instead, due to our demand for such thing, the market has produced sub-par fruit produced by questionable means.  But I digress), the joy of that first taste of strawberries in June just isnt as special.  I did break down and buy a few cartons of US strawberries this past winter, but i regretted it when I realized how they didnt live up to the real thing, and while Im not going to make a religion out of it, my intention is to buy only local strawberries in season and do my best to preserve some of the harvest to be enjoyed throughout the winter.

some of our harvest so far

To this end, I’ve been trying to learn to can, freeze, and dry, not just strawberries but all of the yummy local produce I can while the gettin’s good.  Im brand new to this, and have not yet figured out how much food I need to preserve if I want to have a variety of foods available over cold months, but its been fun trying to learn.  I already documented my first attempt to make strawberry jam, which didnt turn out perfectly but it was still a great learning process.  Since then, I have done the following with the ruby red fruit of early summer:

frozen strawberries

dried strawberries

strawberry jam

strawberry puree (canned)

strawberry jello (made with the juice left over from the puree)

canned cherries

cherry iced tea (made with the juice left over from canning the cherries)

sweet dill pickle chips

frozen peas

My plan is to make a post for each of these and go back in as I do and make the list entries live links.  It is hard to find time to blog when you’re busy learning to do all of this, and taking care of a home in the process, but we’ll see what I can sneak in here and there. :)

Do any of you preserve food?  What do you enjoy doing?  Do you wish you could but dont know how or don’t have the time?  I’d love to hear your thoughts. 


1 comment:

Laura said...

Good for you! I think that this is a wonderful project for you. :)
One thing that I would like to do later on this summer is freeze some roasted peppers. We use a lot of them (being Italian)and I think that buying a bushel when they are cheap at the farmers market would make a lot more sense than paying big $$$'s in the winter.

Can't wait to see your posts and I agree 100% about the horrible strawberries in the winter. Blah!