Last week, I walked into Safeway (local grocery store) and berries were on sale- buy one get one free. I couldn’t resist the temptation of eating delicious berries and bought them. I rationalized my choice with the healthy attributes of berries attempting to remove any guilt associated with buying out of season berries that had been transported 1,000s of miles. I ate the pint of raspberries as soon as I got back to my desk and am still enjoying the blueberries.
I never question how wonderful it is to buy anything from the grocery store, at almost any time of year. Or the marketing power of “free”. I just thought that since I think that local eating and sustainable agriculture is so important that I could resist. Turns out, we are all human.
Since checking out, I have wondered how I can eat fruits in the winter and compromise on my principles. And it didn’t hit me until this morning, when I went to make a smoothie. The berries for my smoothie were berries that I picked in June at a local farm. I made jam with most of the berries, but since I bought a ton I had leftovers and froze them (making my Grandmother proud). My plan was to make more jam (if I ever ran out) and to make smoothies. Today I made my first smoothie. It contained locally grown berries and I ate them in the middle of winter!
With most advances we lose things. In this case we have lost the ability and/or the desire to preserve our food. In the modern world it is possible to never have a food shortage, so we have no need to find ways to save our food for times of scarcity. Maybe those are skills worth keeping. Preserving is a hobby for some and more of an art-form than a necessity. But I think they are important skills.
Yes, I see that cultivating a huge canning movement is unrealistic. People don’t spend them time to make their own dinners, like I said last week they eat at fast food chains for convenience and not economy. How will I ever convince them to preserve food? I won’t and maybe that’s not the battle I should fight. But I do make my own food so I thinking preserving more fruits and enjoying them in the heart of winter is the next step on my food journey.
Conveniently, this is my New Year’s post and food preservation sounds like a great New Year’s resolution. This year I would like to support more local farmers and preserve more food. I want to master a tomato sauce recipe. Make jam, with a thicker consistency than this year. Jar apple sauce in the fall. Oh and make pickles! I love pickles. And I will throw in a spicy salsa just to round out the list.
Happy New Years and good luck with your resolution.