When you preserve your own food for use during the months those products aren’t in season, you take a step into the past, a past that is in jeopardy of extinction. Even though canning and preserving seems to be making a come-back, there are still many who don’t have a clue about how to go about doing such a thing. It is time consuming and hot work, even if you have the benefit of an air conditioner in your home. Produce is harvested in the hottest months of the year and if you want a quality product, it needs to be preserved as soon as possible after its harvest.
Taking The Time
A lot of people think themselves too “busy” to take the time to preserve or they have the misconception that the ready-made products of today are as beneficial. I won’t go into the scientific reasons why fresh, organic products are better for your health as you can research it for yourself – that is, if you’re interested. But I can say there is nothing better than a package of corn that you froze during the summer and you open it for your dinner mid-winter. Or savour the fresh taste of green beans that you either canned or froze right after they were picked.
A Canning Swap
There is a gal here in my area that recruits volunteers to help her pick fruit from trees that otherwise wouldn’t be picked and then shares this with food pantries and people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to these fruits. You can read about her at http://www.thegardenofeating-niagara.com/. I stand amazed at the things she has accomplished with this endeavour and the volunteers she has gathered to help with both picking and preserving.
A few weeks ago, I attended an event she sponsored at a local restaurant called a canning swap. Canners were invited to bring their preserves to trade with others and take home something you might like to try. For every jar that you brought, you received a ticket to spend on someone else’s jar. All jars that weren’t swapped were donated to a local food pantry. There was also a raffle to win a large canning package, including a membership to our local food co-op. Proceeds from the raffle went back into her project to buy fruit picking ladders, which are quite different from a regular ladder. It was an enjoyable afternoon spent talking with other canners about their ingredients, recipes and length of time they’ve been canning. If you’re interested in doing something similar, there are quite a few sites that explain things in more detail. Try it – you might like it!
Stretching The Budget
I can’t think of a better way to stretch your food budget and include some local ingredients into your diet. To me, it’s a win-win situation and it can sure boost your morale to know that you’ve been able to share with others and donate to a worthy cause. Have you ever attended a similar event or know of anything similar? I’d love to hear from you as I’m always looking for new ideas to pay it forward.
Mary Cunningham would never claim to be a financial expert but has worked in the area of finance with personal taxes for over 15 years. Those personal taxes included all personal aspects, rental property and small businesses. She will be offering some Canadian insight to this venture but she came to live in Canada by way of Kentucky.