remember canning pickles, jams, salsa, peaches and other foods. It was a part
of our life, and back then a chore to get through in my young eyes.
I had thought at one time that I would never want to preserve food - why
would I? The store has everything you need at any time of the year! You want
apples in the spring - go to the store! Green beans mid winter? To the store!
And heck, they even did all the work for you and if you couldn't get it fresh,
you definitely could get it canned!
I had made batches of salsa over the years, only because we liked home-made
and it felt, somehow, that I was keeping the tradition alive by at least
After my first child was born, I started to pay more attention to what I was
buying, started to read labels and began to question the ingredients that were
put into pre-packaged foods; preservatives, large quantities of sodium and other
ingredients I couldn't even read or recognize.
We started to eat "healthier". Only 100% whole grain breads, fresh and
frozen over canned, home-made over ready-to-serve. We put in a small garden
where we lived in the suburbs and grew tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and
zucchini. When we moved and were able, we grew a bigger small garden; corn,
green beans, peas, cauliflower, broccli, cabbage, lettuce (which we never did
get any of, the birds kept eating it!), peppers, carrots, cucumbers and of
course - tomatoes! - nothing like a vine-ripened, out-of-you-own-garden, fresh,
We were not able to put in a garden this year but are hoping to plant a
substantial one next year if possible. In the meantime, we have joined a co-op
called Bountiful Baskets. It is a wonderful program where people pool their
money to purchase produce (and sometimes other items). We get to participate
every two weeks and it is 100% volunteer run. We have been extremely greatful
to have it available in our area and it has afforded me the opportunity to have
enough produce this year to preserve.
Yes, you heard it... preserve! Because my attitude about the food we eat has
changed so drastically over the years, and especially the last few years, the
significance and ability to preserve our own food has become an important part
of my self-sustaining dream.
Everything I can get my hands on this year, I am going to try and preserve
through canning, freezing or drying. I have found a wonderful website with all
the recipes you need to preserve about anything you want to!
Even though it sounds trite and old-fashioned (the second of which I don't mind so much), the idea of being self-sustaining has awoken a passion in me to
preserve food for my family - to not only know what has gone into each jar or bag, but to also "set aside" summers and falls harvest for winter. I can imagine in my mind one cold, snowy winter day, going to the cupboard and opening a jar of home-made preserved peaches - like a deep breath of summer sunshine.
And a jar of life-giving food for my family.