Can It, Preserve It, Pickle It, Savor It

A couple of friends pointed out this article to me in yesterday’s New York Times.

Preserving Time in a Bottle (or Jar)

It’s about the not-new interest in food preserving.  Right up my alley and I was thrilled to have more than one person “think of me” when they read it 🙂

Being a new canner myself, I was interested in learning that there are “warring factions” in preserving (is there anything that doesn’t?) and that some people actually make pectin themselves from green apples and some people don’t use pectin at all!  I had no idea. I gladly use the powdered and liquid pectin they sell at the store. It honestly never occured to me that the pectin sold isn’t “natural.” I just figured it was.  Food for thought.

Nor did I realize there were once community canneries!  Imagine being able to do this with lots of people with lots of great canning equipment, instead of your plastic tongs and flimsy magnet stick over your little stove.  Of course, with community canneries, perhaps comes less control over how you can.

I was thrilled to read, in the article, about a group in Schoharie County that recently received a grant to start a new one.  It’s only about 20 min. away from me – it’s where my BFF lives!  I checked out their website at Schoharie Co-op Cannery and saw they are looking for legal counsel. I don’t have any experience starting a non-profit (or a for profit) myself but I have worked with non-profits before, so I’ve sent an email asking if they need any help.  I’m not sure what I would (or could do) but I would love to get involved.

ETA: I heard back from them quickly! They are having a meeting this weekend that I might be able to get to.  We’ll see where this goes!

They have even gotten a letter of interest from Honest Weight Co-op (the co-op I am always mentioning on this blog 🙂 ).  They are already interested in carrying the cannery’s products when it gets up and going.  I love how the community is already getting involved in this -it’s really one of my favorite things about the local foods movement.

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First Mosquito Bite of the Season

Hubby has class on Tuesday nights, leaving me pretty free until 8pm-ish.  We spend lots of time together, cuz he’s my best friend, but I sort of look forward to Tuesday nights which give me some alone time.

Today after work I headed to Honest Weight Co-op to buy some fruits and veggies, and some milk.  We have so much food left over from the last few weeks we needed very little from the grocery store.  I bought some asparagus, organic strawberry and Meadowbrook milk (yay glass bottles!) and it would have been a very cheap grocery week indeed if I hadn’t gotten sidetracked by the Fedco seeds.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I went to the co-op to specifically CHECK OUT the Fedco seeds!  And I ended up buying eleventy billion of them.  I am so gosh darn excited though – what do you want me to do?

So, what’d I buy? So glad you asked!

  • Sugarsnap peas
  • Scarlett Runner Bean
  • Provider Bush Green Bean
  • Black Valentine Bush Green Bean
  • Danvers Carrot
  • Golden Chard
  • Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
  • Salad Bowl Lettuce
  • Long Standing Bloomsdale Spinach
  • Caribe Cilantro

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Oh man, I went a little crazy on the beans – and I’m not sure why! I should see if I can return some.  Because we still need to get tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini.

I also got some organic soil to container plant with – and it’s local! From the local dirt farm?  Heh heh.

McEnroe Organic Soil, from Millerton, NY

McEnroe Organic Soil, from Millerton, NY

When I got home with my purchases I wisked everything out to back deck.  I put a load of wash on with my homemade laundry detergent, set water on to boil to eat pasteles later, and then went back outside to plant my organic cilantro.  I’ve been dreaming about organic cilantro a lot lately.  Most of these dreams coincide with organic tomato dreams in which I make the most delicious salsa in the late summer and then can it!  Mmm….

Newly planted cilantro on the left (organic), regular old cilantro on right

Newly planted cilantro on the left (organic), regular old cilantro on right

We actually have a little bit of regular cilantro left from last year that we kept going on the window sill over the winter, but it’s pretty dead.

It was such a great evening…warm (50s), and I heard the peepers in the aquifer, saw a family of deer stumble through the Great Flats, woodpecker tapping the trees…and some cars in the distance…boo.

The last of the deer family

The last of the deer family

After the cilantro was done, I pulled out some seeds we saved from last year and started planting those.

Seeds saved from last year

Seeds saved from last year

Flower seeds

Flower seeds

We got a real kick out of saving the above flower seeds late last fall.  We were in the heat of the election season and I think these were something Alaska related.  They were beautiful flowers, but shallow 🙂  So we named them Alaska Sarah Palins.

So there was my Tuesday night! It really was wonderful and very relaxing.  Until I got my first mosquito bite of the season, dang it! I don’t understand how we can go from snow last week to mosquitoes this week!