Strawberry Fields Forever: 5 Reasons Why Preserving Your Own Food Is Green
(Hamutal Dotan, from Toronto, goes berry-pickin')
It seems like such an old-fashioned "Leave It To Beaver" sort of tradition —— going out strawberry and cucumber picking and making your own jam and pickles. But more TreeHuggers, we are finding, are going out into the fields and back to the wisdom of our grandparents by making their own preserves. It makes green sense.
Our friend from Green Prophet, Hamutal Dotan, recently did it. She spent a day out berry picking, and wrote out a step-by-step recipe for the even the lamest cooks in the crowd.
So did this TreeHugger. While up in Northern Canada earlier in July, I decided to venture out with my family and spend a day berry-picking and making jam. In total, the whole process took about 5 hours from start to finish (including the berry picking) and created memories and yummy jam that will last a long time.
As we rack up food miles for everything we eat, preserving our own food seems to be the way of the future.
My niece and her friend make strawberry jam. After boiling the strawberries, we had to skim this pinkish foam off the surface. A few spoons of it added to a cup of milk, made the most delicious strawberry flavored milk any of us had tasted.
Earlier on The Huffington Post, we wrote about the benefits of jarring your own preserves, and one reader pointed out that freezing works well too. Although it consumes more energy to keep them frozen, and assuming you have a large storage freezer, this might be a good way to keep your local farmers market beans green all winter, while avoiding cans (and the health dangers of BPA) and buying food from distant locations. Now for today's tips:
Five Green Reasons for Canning and Preserving Your Own Food
1. You know what's going in, and can avoid dangerous additives. A healthier you is a greener you. Fewer doctor's visits, less expensive diets, less of everything.
2. Instead of buying fruit from exotic and foreign countries in the winter, and having it shipped all the way to your door (this takes a lot of energy!), just go into your pantry and eat your own tasty and healthy preserves.
3. Preserving with your family and friends makes for a simple and practically cost-free day of fun. Go pick your own berries and veggies. Expenses will include canning equipment and jars, plus the veggies and fruits. But imagine the money you will save in the long run?
4. Preserves make wonderful gifts. Imagine making your labels on your own organic jams, chutney and pesto and telling your friends how you made it for them at the dinner party? It's a good cheap way to give your friends presents they are actually likely to use. Plus you'll be popular.
5. Preserves jars can easily be recycled. And I am not talking about the blue box. Ask your friends to return their jars. Promise them that they will be filled up next season with something new if they do. Just imagine how many people and local farmers you are going to make happy!