Preserving the summer is not just a tradition; it is survival. Since we have other people to do this for us, most people don’t give it a second thought. They enjoy the peaches and watermelons of the season and then buy them from faraway places once the season ends. It does not occur to most people how this happens, whether it makes sense, or whether it is sustainable. They just want what they want and there it is in the supermarkets, so why not.
People that preserve food are the canners, the old-fashioned ones. We draw remarks of envy and admiration from others who think we have more time. Oh how they wish they had the time and talent. Folks: Cooking, gardening, sewing, etc. don’t actually require talent. They do demand a certain amount of time. So how does one start? One change at a time. For me, it is a living process that I started when I was very little. Curiosity and a desire to do the right things fuels me.
In my early 20’s I had no money and buying food was a challenge. I was careful, bought raw ingredients only if they were on sale, cooked my own beans, and kneaded my own bread. I found out that I really wanted to feed people. I loved when friends tasted my creations. And it turns out, some of those creations were not so great. (Though, I loved all of it) As I slowly acquired more kitchen tools, I tried new things. Mind you, I didn’t use even a hand mixer until my mid-twenties and only started because of wrist injuries. I was a whisk user and proud of it. (Which is just silly, but there you have it) The point is, you don’t need much to get started. You need basic tools and a desire to make one positive change.
My changes usually start with a question like, “Well, how is that made? Someone has to make it, so why can’t I?” or “Who makes this and do I agree with their business practices?” or “Is this local or is there a local alternative?” and “I don’t like these ingredients. What is another way to do this?” These types of questions usually lead me to search out recipes, dissect them, and suddenly there I am in the kitchen. So, anyone can engage in this process and lots of time and talent is not needed to begin with. (You may find you need more time as you further down this path, but initially, not so much. You may also find you do indeed possess talent in this area, but it isn’t required.) The next time you open a can, box, or frozen dinner ask a few questions.
And don’t stop until you have some answers.
P.S. My favorite pickle recipes can be found in here.