Sep 142010
 

Taking responsibility for your own food leads one to an attempt to 1). Extend the growing season and 2). Extending the eating season. The traditional methods for doing this are canning and freezing and we are busy doing both having frozen lots of pole beans and beet greens. We’ve also pickled lots of beets and made zucchini relish and bread and butter pickles. It’s comforting to have shelves full of jars of food, particularly tasty condiments, jams and chutneys, to spice up meals during the winter months.

But canning and freezing are not very energy efficient. You need to use large quantities of water and significant amounts of electricity to preserve food this way. In addition, much of the nutrient value of the food is lost  through canning (less through freezing) as you heat the food to kill bacteria. More importantly, enzymes are destroyed by heating.

The raw food movement is based on the idea that life-giving enzymes are
destroyed by cooking and the tremendous heat imparted to canned foods in the water bath to create safe seals.

I’m trying to learn techniques of extending the eating season to supplement canning and freezing. Preserving Food Without Canning and Freezing is an excellent place to start.

There are lots of traditional (pre-electric) techniques for storing and preserving food: cold storage, drying, lactic fermentation, salting, storing in oil, sugar and alcohol. Preserving Food Without Canning and Freezing is packed with interesting ideas. Here’s a sample:

Nasturtium seed capers
Toward the of summer collect the green seeds from nasturtiums that have lost their blossoms. Put these in a jar along with dill leaves and a good white wine vinegar. The taste and shape are somewhat reminiscent of capers.”

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