As summer wanes it’s time to start thinking of what we’re going to do with all the produce that comes from the garden, but not only the garden. While I’ve explained why I choose to garden and expose my kids to it, you may not have the time, space or the ability to tend your own garden. Food preservation – canning, freezing and drying food – is for you as well. The farmers market is a wonderful place to stock up on fresh and local produce while it’s in season.
Why Preserve the Harvest?
*Preserving saves you money. Buying produce in season is always cheaper than buying produce that’s been shipped in from somewhere else. You can take advantage of low prices now by stocking up, canning and preserving fresh produce for use in sauces, casseroles and stews during the winter months.
*It is environmentally friendly. Much less energy is expended growing fruits and vegetables during the local season. Trucks can carry produce to local markets, rather than shipping them from different hemispheres.
*Preserving cuts down on waste. I grew up with a very frugal family, and we were always taught not to waste. In a day and age where so many people are hungry and looking for food, I feel that it is a social responsibility to make sure I’m using all the food I have available to me. Letting my tomatoes rot because I couldn’t eat them fast enough just isn’t an option for my family.
*It’s fresher and tastes better. Using produce that’s at the peak of freshness always tastes better than produce that’s been picked before it is ripe and then ripened using ethylene gas. Canning and freezing your food preserves it at the freshest point.
*No BPA. So many companies still line their canned products with BPA. Canning in jars at home ensures you know exactly what you put in the jar, not only the salt content and extra ingredients, but also the lack of chemicals and byproducts.
Do you preserve food in the summer and fall for the winter? What are your favorite canning recipes?
Photos by Shaina Olmanson
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