I decided in the fall to depend on what area farmers could offer when it was too late to put any local fruits and veggies in my freezer. Two years ago, I finally decided to follow the Dane County Farmers Market (perhaps the biggest local-produce-only markets in the country) when it left its scenic and spacious Capital Square summer digs and moved to the more cramped quarters of a downtown senior center community room and kitchen.
I was pleased to see so much produce still locally available, and decided to test how close I could come to eating locally. Fortunately, there were apples – mis-shapen but mouth-watering little heirlooms. And hoop house-grown spinach that was so tender and sweet, it was a revelation.
That was pretty much it for fresh greens and fruit the rest of winter — and it was enough for nutritional purposes, but by February I was fantasizing about fresh blueberries and strawberries the way someone lost in a desert dreams of running water.
Now I realize that with a little forethought, locavores can enjoy their area’s treasures all year long, and I am gradually learning toput my favorites up while they are in season. A miser couldn’t love his gold any more than I love the jars of tomato sauce standing tall in my basement or bags of berries packed like bricks in the freezer of my fridge. I’m shopping for the most efficient chest freezer I can find and plan to add beans, corn, broccoli and as many more as I can to my stores.
Here are 5 of my favorite websites on food preservation.
This website features anationawide collection of cooks, gardeners and food lovers who want to see “putting by” food become common and safe. This is a treasure trove of recipes, resources and giveaways.
This website covers many aspects of fresh food besides preserving, but her preserve posts are detailed and her small selection of preserves are intriguing concoctions like Wild Elderberry Preserves with Honey and Almond or Nectarine and Strawberry Butter. Whether I ever make them, it was a joy to contemplate them.
This is an article that appeared in the New York Times by Mark Bitten. I used to think I couldn’t start freezing produce till I owned an actual chest freezer, but this piece opened my eyes to the way I was wasting the freezer I already had available in my kitchen. If you think you can’t freeze – you have got to read this. It will change your life! It has changed mine.
This website is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is vast and encyclopediac. If you like your instructions detailed and graphic, they have slide shows and videos that take you step by step through each process. It is all here.
This is a page from the University of Georgia Coopeartive Extension Service that really spells out how to dry food, including details on how to improvise a solar dryer with a folding chair! I haven’t dried anything yet, but I will get back to you on that. What’s not to like about the “oldest method of preserving food, which is simple, safe and easy to learn”?
PLEASE HELP ME. I NEED ADVICE BEFORE BUYING A FREEZER. I WANT TO GET THE MOST EFFICIENT SMALL CHEST FREEZER OUT THERE. LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE FOUND.
Categories: SUSTAINABLE FOOD