Storing the season’s best picks

The squirrels in my neighborhood are on a serious mission to find and bury as many nuts as they can in preparation for the cold winter ahead. Watching them reminds me of a time when it was normal practice to can, or “put up” produce picked in peak season to be enjoyed during the bleak days of winter. I can remember as a child being sent down to the cellar to retrieve a jar of peaches for dessert in the middle of winter, what a treat!

For me, canning is too daunting and I opt for an easier route such as freezing. Rows of Tupperware line my freezer shelves filled with each season’s picks to savor long after the growing season is over.

  • Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries from my favorite “Pick your Own” farm
  • Tomatoes from the farmers market stewed and ready to use in soups, chilies and sauces
  • Apples picked at the orchard sliced and briefly cooked for later use in apple pies, another batch cooked down to apple sauce with a sprinkle of cinnamon for a quick dessert, handy anytime. 

With a cellar or freezer full of bounty, there’s no need to;

  • Buy a can of sodium laden vegetables
  • Purchase food in peak season 5000 miles away then flown or shipped to your local grocery store
  • Be at the mercy of what retailers have to offer

Whether you choose to can or to freeze, the benefits are the same;

  • The food is cleaner and healthier 
  •  It is packaged without sodium, sugar or chemical preservatives
  •  It is picked or purchased while at the height of its growing season therefore offering the highest nutritional value 
  •  There is basically no carbon footprint bringing this food to your table

To find out more about canning, freezing, drying and more, visit the website of The National Center for Home Food Preservation