Is Preserving Food a Lost Art?

I am so grateful that we are able to have large gardens on our property, filled with organic produce.  The reality of it is, now that I do not attend a farmers’ market anymore, what I grow is too much for us to eat fresh out of the garden.  So I preserve!

31171dbb9f1a66e95bfc85c79a0eed1ePreserving, canning, and otherwise storing food for the winter months was practised by most North American families up until a short time ago.  I grew up in a family of six with huge gardens, and spent many hours by my mother’s side, helping her make pickles, stirring the jam on the stove, freezing vegetables, and shredding cabbage for sauerkraut.  At the time, I resented being forced to do this.  I would much rather be playing outside, or reading, but now, I am indebted to my mother for teaching me all these valuable lessons.

So why aren’t households preserving food as much (if at all) any more?  Statistically, family demographics have certainly changed a lot, from forty years ago.  Many women are now working full time, and children (aka mothers’ little helpers) have more commitments to extracurricular activities.  As well, food (and in some cases, “food-like” products) is much easier to access, from the grocery stores.  Fruits and vegetables are available year round, imported from other countries when our own are out of season.  Who needs to preserve food, when you can buy it “fresh” at the store?  I’ve blogged about this topic already, but I will just repeat that our family eats in season, sourcing locally grown food (if not our own) and chooses organic, when possible.  The most economical way is to preserve our own.

My last blog was about a highly successful apple foraging adventure, which yielded me delicious apple sauce and apple cider.  A bit of work, but in an afternoon, I made enough apple sauce for our family to last the winter months.

Putting food “down” or preserving does take a bit of work, I won’t deny it.  But not as much as you may think.  Yesterday at the Elora Farmers’ Market,  I bought 3 bunches of beautiful kale, at a mere $2.50 a bunch.  Kale is an awesome nutritional superfood, and I use it quite often, both raw in salads, and cooked in stir fries, quinoa patties and in soups.  Here is what I did with it, as suggested by my friend, Joanna from Arthur Greenhouses.

It takes 15 minutes, tops, and you can enjoy locally grown, organic kale all winter long, instead of buying the produce shipped thousands of miles from California!

 

Ready to get roasted...

Ready to get roasted…

Another quick preserving tip is for all the beautiful tomatoes available now.  This year, unfortunately, many growers have experienced tomato blight, and have had significant crop losses, but you can still purchase delicious Roma paste tomatoes at many grocery stores, and certainly at your local farmer’s market.  Making delicious sauce is as simple as slicing up the tomatoes and roasting them along with some onion, garlic and olive oil, then pureeing them, skins and all (that’s the real time saver), and either freezing, or preserving in jars, via a hot water bath.  A link to last year’s blog can be found here.  Why buy tomato paste that comes in BPA lined cans, made of sub-grade tomatoes in many cases, when you can make your own delicious sauce and paste, so very easily?

 

My goal with this post is to inspire you to take advantage of the local bounty that is available at this time of year.  I guarantee that the time and effort it takes will be worth it, and you will wonder why you waited so long to put away some of your own food, like your grandmother probably did.  Just start with one or two things, and enjoy!  Good luck and I’d love to hear your stories.  Until next time, happy preserving!

 

 

Advertisements

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by bobh47955 on September 15, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    I also work a garden. I preserve my produce by canning, dehydrating and freezing. At least I know how my food is grown and what’s in it. Organic all the way.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: