September 14, 2010 § 7 Comments
The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.
And well we might have food preservation creeping into the back corners of our minds. This time of year is astounding, sort of overwhelming, from a culinary standpoint. Everything is overflowing with produce, the market stands, the refrigerator, the garden (er, well actually my garden is kind of overflowing with weeds more than anything else, but I swear that’s only because we’ve been traveling so much this summer). But, the days are distinctly shorter. I find myself looking up at the sky on my bike ride home and thinking, “What do you think you’re doing? Why are you so dark? I swear you used to be light at this time!” And so we’re reminded that the tangled profusion of fruits and vegetables we’re trying to make our way through right now will, in not too long, give way to cold and frost, decomposing. But also renewing the earth.
But a fat lot of good the renewal of the earth does a person if they don’t have any food to survive the winter. Not that that is actually a problem for most of us these days, but I think that preserving food is a skill that should not be lost. It feeds a primal urge to prepare and save for harder days. It allows you to bottle up a little bit of summer sunshine – in the form of peaches, or tomatoes, or corn – to open up in mid-January when you most need to be licked by those rays. It’s also a wonderfully fun way to spend time with friends, if you do a group canning afternoon, and keep your hands busy so your mind can frolic. Between all of this and the growing acknowledgement of the importance of supporting local food systems, food preservation is resurging by leaps and bounds.