Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Preserving foods (Day 14)

I've been thinking about food today. I was trying to decide on a green change for today, and read Vanessa's list. "Preserving and canning food" stood out.

I was at the grocery store this evening, and noticed all the fresh Ontario produce that is available. 
DH and I have a vegetable garden.  Not a big one, but enough that we enjoy fresh lettuce, green beans, zucchini (!), and potatoes on a regular basis.  Summer and fall offer lots of fresh food.  But what about winter and early spring?  Our food typically comes from far away places like Mexico, South Africa and Chile.  Is this a really sustainable way to eat? 

For those who wish to discuss the merits of sustainable eating, Michael Pollan's books The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food are required reading.   I read IDOF last year and DH is currently reading TOD.  We've been discussing the whole food processing cycle, and wondering how to make our consumption more sustainable. 

DH comes from a family of farmers, so it was only natural that we planted a small garden in our yard.  I've always tried to eat locally in season, especially peach, pear and berry season!   I usually buy Ontario produce, and gorge myself sick on corn when the local stands open up. 

But then winter rolls around, and local produce becomes almost non-existent.   I always make jam from in-season (and preferably local) strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and peaches, but that's usually as far as local goes in winter.

So this year, I decided a reasonable next step would be to preserve some of the produce from our garden.  I chopped rhubarb and froze it, and canned beets for the first time.

But it didn't occur to me to preserve other fresh produce for the winter months until I saw the peaches at the grocery store.    They looked and smelled wonderful.  And they were cheap.   I was only going to buy one container of them, until today's lunch flashed through my mind.  The kids ate canned peaches at lunch, and we went through a whole can in one sitting.   As I stared at the peaches, I thought, I could can those.  Not only would it be cheaper (I'm sure I'll get at least three jars per 4L basket of peaches - at the cost of one of the cans of store-bought), but it will be with fresh summer-sweet fruit.

If I have any success, I'll expand to pears and applesauce.  Maybe even freeze some local corn, too.


  1. What a great idea Eco Mama! You should drop by my blog, if you have time. I write about eating seasonally and locally, even in the dead of our Canadian winters. Here's the link:
    A Foodie's Quest

  2. Thank's DJP! I'll pop by and check it out.