• Food Preservation at People's

    (from the People’s Co-op Newsletter)

    Food preservation is perhaps one of the most gratifying ways to nourish your relationship to
    your environment as well as to entertain your senses. It is wonderful in its simplicity. By using a simpleunderstanding of pH, bacterial interplay and flavor profiles, one becomes an alchemist and a playfuladvocate of seasonal sustainability. I love the meditative process of sectioning pounds and pounds of citrus fruits in the winter to make delectable and colorful marmalades, and the sense of community thatcomes from furiously peeling and canning cases of heirloom tomatoes with friends. It is a joy to findthose dried beans and apples I forgot about from late summer’s harvest, and using them to create ameal that is more special because of the effort, now months past, I put into the ingredients. Preserving foods means combining simple ingredients, and using simple tools and methods to extend the life of seasonal foods. This can give your home medicine cabinet and pantry new purpose and flavor. It mayseem like a lot of work up front, but a lifestyle that includes some regular attention to preserving foods throughout the year adds value, richness, new experiences, community and self-empowerment to one’s life.

    The impetus to learn and experiment in these techniques requires creativity, courage and an
    adventurous spirit. The real art of preservation comes through developing a deeper relationship to with
    your health, how you are sustaining your person, and how you engage your palate and interact with this incredible regional food system that we share. I understand that for a lot of folks, there is a lot of fear wrapped up in making food preservation a priority in one’s life, and it is not unfounded – for all that effort, occasionally batches go wrong. Sometimes it ends up being a happy accident, and other times it’s a real disappointment. In my opinion, the fear of food preservation is an unnecessary fear of the unknown. With a little practice, simple instruction and a desire to work with Mother Nature, it is
    possible to work safely while preserving. The important thing to know is how to identify a bad batch, as well as what to do when it does happen. This way, you can forgive yourself and avoid making the same mistakes in the future. The learning curve here is not steep, but it does require a constantly evolving awareness of what’s happening in your kitchen. You can learn to preserve foods deliciously and healthfully.

    So this year, make a commitment to turn your kitchen space into a delicious laboratory of
    ferments, canned items, dehydrated fruit leathers, homemade sodas, vinegars and snacks. You will be
    doing yourself a favor later in the year as you save time and money working with what you have at
    home. You will have the added advantage of never having to use boring, flavorless, overly salted and
    processed store bought ingredients again! Eating seasonally is always the most cost effective way to
    source your foods as they are always the ones perpetually in abundance and uniquely rich in nutrition.
    By doing so, you are participating in the most ancient form of food thrift known to humankind! Seek out the answers you are looking for in a good teacher and dare to enter yourself into the delicious
    community of food preservation.

    For more information check out: Wild Fermentation or The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz or Sloe Gin and Beeswax by Jane Newdick (serious classic!)