The Winter Pantry
Tonight our family spent the evening putting summer food away for the winter. The boys were busy cutting up damaged red potatoes and filling quart jars. When that set of jars were all filled, they were on to pushing tomato soup that we had been cooking all day in the pack shed through the tomato saucer. Then it was a several more hours of tending the pressure canning process as there were several batches to get through.
Purple Haze Carrots
Green Cabbage (larges)
There are easier ways to eat potatoes in the winter. When you consider that we can hold potatoes in storage without any extra processing until at least April and also the price on grocery store potatoes, it might seem a waste to can spuds. But if you work on our farm and see five or ten pounds of potatoes get thrown away each week as seconds, you might also want to rescue them from the compost pile and put them to use. But the real reward comes when you are preparing a meal in a hurry and want to simply open a jar of fully prepared potatoes and quickly mash them for supper or slice them to fry with your morning eggs. We learned a few years ago that going against recommended practice and maintaining the skins gives them an amazing earthy, almost smokey flavor we love. Keeping ugly food from the compost heap is a huge factor in determining what’s in our canning cupboard come winter.
Canning foods has been around a very long time. The heating and sealing process was first researched and utilized widespread in the early 1800’s for use by troops. The impacts of canning were huge for a civilization that didn’t have the luxury of modern refrigeration.
A few weeks ago, we had an excess of cucumbers that did not sell at market. Our friends Tom and Linda offered to come make two big batches of sweet dill pickles with us in exchange for half. Many hands made light work and we each have another shelf on our pantry filled. Every time we reach into our storage cupboard, there is a huge sense of pride packed in every perfectly packed and sealed jar. Memories of a time and place when that food was grown and made. And flavor that you can’t buy in a store.
Growing for you,