Preserving Everything…Including My Sanity (well…maybe not)

I’m sure I’ve mentioned: I’m a little obsessed with preparing and preserving food. My house is stocked for at least two zombiepocalypses and there’s no sign of abating the surge. Except for maybe winter. I am pretty much hoping winter will come soon. …So that…I can obsess over hunting for mushrooms instead. See what  mean? I think I’m hopeless.

So, one of my favorite things to make every year are pickles. Except this year (I made too many last year and didn’t finish them all, so I’m on restriction). That said, I recommend this cookbook: Canning for a New Generation. Not only does it contain a super recipe for pickling spices, it has wonderful old-fashioned pickle recipes, including a three week lacto-fermented brine. For the less inclined, there is an eight-hour and one which does not require any brine time, both intended to be processed in your water bath canner.

I recommend that cookbook to anyone reading. Maybe I already have. So, I’m doing it again if I have.

Well, off to decide what food to preserve today and to take a long walk to an apple tree. Lots of apples! Making apple fruit leather and applesauce today…in this 90 degree weather.

-Drippingly yours,

Guen

P.S. Making lacto-fermented sodas is easy, good for you, and delicious. Concord grapes are finally in season. I wait every year for this moment. I am making concord grape lacto-fermented sodas which start with making a ginger bug. This website got me started.

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Tomatoes: A Labor of Love

Twice now in the past week, we have driven to a local farm and purchased two cases of tomatoes equaling nearly 40 pounds each time. These are organic heirloom tomatoes at a dollar a pound. In the stores, they are five to six dollars a pound and the same at the farmers’ markets.

Apparent delusions of grandeur fuel me in the summer months, but somehow, we succeed in our quests. We have so far produced, 16 pints of marinara sauce, 20 pints of stewed tomatoes, 12 four-ounce jars of tomato paste, and are currently experimenting with ketchup. Personally, I don’t like the stuff, but the other members of the household do.  I always buy organic ketchup and I probably only purchase two bottles in a whole year, but still the plastic container bothers me. I am also bothered by the nagging feeling that it would be less expensive and local if I made it myself.

So here we are, whipping up a test batch and concluding that this will culminate in our own recipe as we adjust to suit our tastes (even mine…I do know what it ought to be like even if I don’t care for it). Also, this is the first year for stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, and the second for marinara. No more worries about Muir Glen, etc. and their cans or politics. No more guilt about the fuel it costs to ship and process long distances. No worries about the quality of the product. And, this is what I meant when I suggested that living sustainably is a process.

We take it one step at a time, trying to change our lives and our world through small actions. And, they matter.

-Cheers,

Guen