Monday, July 13, 2009

Preserving the Harvest and Supporting the Loconomy

Saturday we did a workshop on various preserving methods. I asked the attendees why they wanted to learn these skills. Most said they had a garden and wanted to learn how to preserve the excess. One person was a CSA member who wanted to do the same thing. Almost everyone said that her/his grandmother (not mother) used to can food, make pickles and jelly. Both of us had grandparents who preserved as well. They grew big gardens, had fruit trees, picked wild berries and bought by the bushel from neighbor farmers what they didn't grow themselves. When we got married 455 moons ago we planted a garden, bought a canner and a bunch of jars and learned from our grandparents how to do what they did. In many if not most families today those skills are lost so it is up to those of us who still know how to do it to teach others.
In the class we started a crock of sauerkraut. We packed jars of green beans, cherry tomatoes, zucchni spears and mixed vegetables (baby squash, carrots, turnips, baby eggplant, garlic herbs) then covered them with a salt brine. These will ferment and turn into deellliiisshhhuusss sour pickles ready to eat in a couple of weeks. Fermented vegetables are highly nutritious, aid digestion and help fight disease.
We made bread and butter pickles out of cucumbers. We pressure canned a marinara sauce I made the day before. We canned acidic tomatoes in a hot water bath. All together we preserved about 20 pounds of vegetables for future consumption. We all had a great time working together and learning new skills.
If you would like to learn more about these methods you can download the handout i gave to the class by going here or, if you live in the Atlanta area you can take the next session of the class. You can download that information by going here.


KiwiGrower said...

Way to go "guys"! In that top picture, are those turnips and beets in the left jar? We have some cabbage this year and will be making sauerkraut too (with dill). It's surprisingly easy and low-tech!

Angela said...

I really hope that I'll get to do some canning this year. My grand mother gave me all of her canning stuff about 14 years ago when we moved to our farm. The water bath canner belonged to her mother. I just bought a new one last week that I can't wait to use. I've only canned tomatoes and peaches before and I've made peach jam and blackberry jam.

duane marcus Facebook me! said...

Angela i hope you get to do some canning too. Nothing more satisfying than to open a jar in the middle of the winter and enjoy something you grew yourself.

KG- In the jar on the left are white Hakurei turnips on top and a small tomato variety called tomatoberry. It has the shape of a strawberry and a firm dense texture similar to Juliett or roma. We think it will maintain its texture during the fermentation process. A softer, juicier variety would just collapse into mush.We get seeds for both from Johnnys seeds. We grow the turnips all year. We plant them about once a month. It takes about a month for them to get big enough to harvest.

Country Girl said...

Very cool, I will check out the sites you posted!