Think you can’t afford to eat organic local food year around? While it’s great to grow a garden or shop at farmers’ markets when produce is fresh, what about keeping food for a later time? Let’s learn some food preservation basics!
I’m not the only one who lives in a colder clime where there’s nothing growing through the snow banks for several months of the year! Sure, it’s convenient to go down to the supermarket a couple of times a week and buy nearly all the food we consume, other than the eating out the average family does. However, if you’re dedicated to upping the quality of the fare you feed your family, you’ll want some solutions.
The key is buying bulk in season and preserving it for the off-season. It can be hard to know what’s the best way to preserve all the different types of food: fruit, vegetables, meat, herbs. . .whatever you’ve gathered or discovered. In many cases, you have options, based on what you want to do with it later, but there’s usually one best way for a product.
This is the lifestyle I’ve been immersed in all my life. My parents and my in-laws grew and preserved their own food from farm or garden as far back as my husband and I can remember. Sometimes it was because of cost, other times availability, other times freshness and flavor.
When we married in 1980 it seemed only natural to continue the habits we’d learned growing up. In the last few years we’ve found resurgence in interest in the various processes and have enjoyed teaching our kids. Now our granddaughters are benefiting from real food!
Our diet is not 100% local and organic, but it’s getting closer every year. Don’t think of it as all or nothing. Look at it as a journey, starting with the steps that fit best into the lifestyle you’re already leading. Then, when you’ve acquired a new habit, build on it.
Just in case you didn’t grow up with the same heritage I did, I’ll be doing a series of posts on the following. Maybe one or two of these will be good first steps for you.
Later, in the fall, I’ll add these two topics:
*Brining & Smoking
Is there something else I should cover? Please mention it in comments, or let me know via the contact form.