Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why Bother with Food Storeage and Preserving?

My husbands reaction to seeing so many jars of salsa (a small laugh and a confused expression) made me realize that even someone who lives with me and hears my thoughts and rants might not understand what I'm doing, so I'm betting if you surf on in to this blog and see all the food storage posts, it might not make sense to you either. Why do I bother making and canning so much when I can just go to the grocery store and buy it later if I need it? Here are a few of the reasons:

1. Locally grown produce tastes better and makes better tasting salsa, preserves, pickles, etc. It has gotten so that we won't eat produce out of season and much of it we won't even get from the grocery store because the taste is so different (inferior). If we can preserve some of it at its peak of flavor, then we can have it at its best even when the season is over.

2. I can make it for less. I can make fig preserves for the cost of the jar lid, sugar and energy to cook and waterbath can it (around twenty five cents per pint). I can make the salsa for about $1.00 per pint and that includes the cost of buying the vine-ripened, delicious tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.

3. I can help to support the local community by buying lots of produce from local farmers. What I buy now will help my local farmers to pay their bills and feed their family in the winter when they are not selling anything. This small act might be the difference between the farmer being able to continue farming or having to sell the farm to find other work. Every dollar I spend with a farmer, instead of at the grocery store, is a full dollar that goes to the farmer, as opposed to the mere pennies on the dollar that go to the farmer through more conventional grocery store purchases.

4. We are learning and practicing skills that will help my family become more self-sufficient. We hope to own land soon so that we can take more responsibility for producing much of our own food. When that happens we will be doing a lot of food preservation and it will help that my kids and I are practiced at it since so many other things we will be doing will be new to us.

5. I know what is in it. I don't have to wonder if that ingredient I cannot pronounce is something that I want my children eating, and I don't have to keep constant watch over HFCS or Trans-Fats on ingredient lists because I know what is in it, since I made it.

6. Food security. With products being recalled on a regular basis for containing things like e coli, salmonella, listeria and lead, I feel better knowing the people who grow our food and knowing how it was grown. The tomatoes I preserve will not be recalled.

It is a lot of work, but in my opinion, it is work worth doing.


Anonymous said...

Lori, I feel the same way you do, especially about HFCS and trans-fats. My kids and I are playing a game when grocery shopping. If they can find a product w/a label that does not have HFCS, soy lecithin, or partially hydrogenated whatever, then I'll buy it. They've yet to find anything other than some sugar free (aka, made w/splenda, therefore ineligible) jelly. Of course, they are only looking at cookies, pies, sweet stuff, not canned veggies LOL.

I tend to think canning is a lot of extra work, but if we lose power for an extended amount of time, canned foods would be a boon. (of course, I'm talking months, not a week or so w/a hurricane).

The Book Lady Online said...

Cute about shopping with your boys. My kids are always asking who ever is offering something (usually grandparents) if it has trans-fats, MSG or HFCS which makes me both proud (that they know and are concerned)and embarrassed (who wants to have to explain to everyone why my kids can't and won't eat the crap they are offered).

Canning usually seems like a whole lot of work and not necessarily worth it to me, but this year for some reason, so far at least, its been much easier. Maybe its just from doing it so much that its getting routine. I don't know. I'm sure we'll be glad to have all that farm food in the fall and winter - hope so anyway :)