by Martina According to Joel Salatin’s new book, Folks, This Ain’t Normal, “as recently as 1946, nearly 50 percent of all produce grown in America came out of backyard gardens. Hoeing, pulling weeds, planting vegetables, and then canning freezing, dehydrating, and fermenting accounted for significant family time and energy. Laying by was not an option; it was a necessity. That someone would enter the nonproductive off-season with an empty larder was simply unthinkable.”
Today we have the never-before-experienced-in-the-history-of-the-world luxury of fabulous year-round supermarkets. And they are super! We couldn’t live our busy modern lives without them. But…
I agree with Joel that we could all do with a little more focus on laying by and a little less reliance on packaged foods or international produce in the off season. And even though I’m not terribly handy in the kitchen, I have been known to make my own mozzarella and yoghurt. So, I’m feeling the call to lay by just a little this year, and see where it goes. (I love the homey, old-fashioned terms of larder and laying by!)
Maybe I’ll buy a few extra pints of blueberries in June and freeze them for my winter oatmeal…sweetened with fabulous Pennsylvania maple syrup, of course!
And in October: applesauce! I already have Ball’s classic Blue Book of Preserving, and have made their applesauce recipe with winesap apples (as recommended by a lovely apple seller at York Central Market). Yum! Maybe I’ll make some extra to freeze this year.
Maybe I’ll even try my hand at preserving…peach jam perhaps, or something with the tomatoes from the community garden plot I share with my friend Kelley. My friend Sid has a food dehydrator I might be able to borrow…dried apricots anyone? Ooh, I’m getting excited…and wouldn’t those make great Christmas presents!
So…any recommendations for easy recipes for a first-time preserver? What types of preserving have you had success with?
You can pickle just about anything — watermelon, asparagus, etc. I’ve also successfully made peach salsa (without tomatoes), peach salsa (with tomatoes), sweet jams, spicy jams…basically, make sure you follow the Blue Book directions regarding sugar content and combine flavors to your heart’s content!
– Kara (friend of Amanda!).