I get a weird satisfaction from preserving food. Maybe it's the process of turning something ephemeral into something that I can eat in the future, or the pride I get from learning a new skill. In any case, I've been trying to do a lot of canning and freezing this summer. I spend a lot of time in the Eastern Townships, where there are tons of farms and produce stands along the road. It's a nice feeling when I can see a garden behind the produce stand...it's the epitome of eating local. It also seems cheaper than buying fresh frutis and vegetables at one of the markets in Montreal.
My own garden is doing pretty well, considering I can only visit it once every two weeks. The only thing I've been able to harvest so far are peas, but soon I should have carrots, tomatoes (crossing my fingers), cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchinis, and basil (crossing my fingers and my toes). Surprisingly, the only real animal problems I've had were the racoons that dug up the cardboard I used as a base, since there was compost underneath. It took out a few basil plants, but there are still three plants hanging in there. I wish I could visit it more, but that's why I needed a small, managable garden that would need minimal weeding.
This summer, I've made enough strawberry/rhubarb and raspberry jam to last me until next year. I've also started freezing spinach from my grandfather's garden for pastas in a few months. Yesterday, I added something else to the list: vacuum packed blueberries.
I like freezing food and having it for later, but a lot of times the quality is diminished and instead tastes like ubiquitous freezer burn. I found out my friend has a vacuum packer, so we picked 6 liters of blueberries at the farm across the street (doesn't get any more local than that!). We kept 2 liters fresh, but sealed the rest. It was super easy to vacuum pack them, you really just put the blueberries into a bag and stick it into the machine. The machine sucks all the air out, and apparently almost doubles the life of the food. Then you stick it in the freezer.
I'll let you know if they still taste good in 6 months.
I'm an eco-conscious girl from Montreal, Quebec. I'm currently an adjunct science professor at Champlain College of Vermont (Montreal Campus). I'm interested in any opportunities to expand my experience with grassroots activism, climate change legislation, or environmental education.