Monday, August 31, 2009

Adventures in food preservation

Some of you know, others of you are not going to be surprised to learn, that I am one of a slightly contrary personality. Thus, I am prone to making decisions based on 'bucking the system' rather than any other reason. Some of the decisions have landed me in hot water....... Others have blessed me beyond comprehension. Those of you that know my hubby, know that marrying him turned out to be a decision falling in this second category. Another of these decisions was to run as fast as I could from that freakishly happy yellow smiling bouncy ball......

A couple of years ago I decided to start transitioning towards being two things: being much more self-reliant in feeding my family and to eat more seasonably/locally. After all, I reasoned, I'm a college educated idiot, errr I mean horticulturist, and I can grow anything. Right?!?! Hee hee hee.... I realized quickly, that the latter was not going to be possible without learning A LOT of the former!!! And so I set out to learn the art of food preservation.

And let's be clear about one thing; It is an art form. It is not for the faint of heart. I have not had anything spoil or make anybody sick, but I have made a couple of things that, as my mother would say "Taste like butt"!! I have also made a very impressive disaster of my kitchen on a fairly regular basis, as I am not an organized nor a neat cook by nature.

My food drying experiences have not just haven't been good experiences. Someday I'll revisit that. But not in the near future, as my ego just can't take that.

However, canning did come to me fairly easily and I LOVE IT!!!! Although to be honest I come from 'Mormon stock' (as someone once put it) and spent many a hot summer and fall day with my depression-era British grandmother, canning everything she saw fit to consume. On that same note, though, I should tell you that like every bratty (insert ungrateful) child, I did NOT pay attention..... Thus my canning 'adventures' as a grown-up!!!

This year, as the season progresses I will post some of my favorite and/or new recipes for you to contemplate. I have also decided, I think, that this will be my last year using store-bought pectin. I believe that making your own jams and stuff, using this pectin, is better than buying commercial. However, through some research I think I've decided to go the agar route in the future. If any of you out there have tried this and have tips that you'd be willing to share I would be an incredibly thankful Manic Girlie Farmer! Thanks in advance!!!!

Your favorite farmer,

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