Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dinner in Winter...Almost Like Summer

During the summer I posted lots of pictures of the results of my initial canning efforts. Jewel-like colors and so beautiful. Of course, I was excited to have done it and feeling very satisfied with the outcome. But how did it really turn out, you might wonder? How many exploded, rotted or otherwise didn't make it? How did stuff taste? Was it really better?

Not a single one went bad...not one jar out of all those dozens and dozens.

But...I'll admit that I was very dubious of eating my own jarred up food. I'd read so often of the dire dangers of doing anything even slightly wrong, that I'd surely die of botulism or at least get seriously ill that I had myself paranoid beyond belief.

It took a serious act of faith to open up the first non-acid food that I'd jarred myself. Tomatoes and things like that, acid foods, I didn't worry about since those aren't potential carriers. And those were delicious like you wouldn't believe. But corn, green beans...things like that?

Before I opened the first ones, I brought them up, examined them with every light on, held them up by just the little lid to be sure they were still in a vacuum, shook them and then held them up again. Listened for the pop when I opened them and then looked at them again.

It smelled just the same as the day I packed it, so fresh and clean. I added the corn to the goulash (sp?) I was making and then stood, paranoid but determined, until it was ready.

Oh my, how delicious it was! It has a texture, almost a crispness, that it does when it is very fresh and on the cob that no store bought version is going to give you.

After that, it was field day with the jars. Now, I still take reasonable precautions and check things like the seal and discoloration, but I do that with stuff I buy in cans too so there is nothing new there.

Currently, I'm starting to run out of things and am ever so sad to see them go.

As a step towards a greater sustainability in my life, I could hardly have done anything better. Growing your own food in season is great, but making it last after the season is the best.

Just think of this: Fresh food gets trucked an unknown distance to a factory where it is processed at high temps using large quantities of water and cleaning solutions, put into cans that use large quantities of metals, paper or plastics (for those single serve things). It is then trucked out, even right to the place it may have grown. Then you drive your car to pick them up at the store and then toss that can and paper right into the garbage, (or recycling if you have it). What a mess for a single can of green beans.

For my jar of green beans: I grow them, enjoying them right from the vine and having extra, I clean them, jar them in glass jars I'll re-use countless times, process them on my energy efficient stove and then open them whenever without going to any store. In fact, the only thing I use is one part of a 2 piece lid that has to be recycled and water. That's it.

You tell me which is the best one for our little green and blue planetary body?

But as I start new seeds for this year, I'm keeping all that in mind and this year, I'll have twice as much to go in the jars!

1 comment:

Kevin said...

I am very happy for you. I will be canning for the first time this year. I have froze vegetables and they are great but there is a romance to canning and looking at all the jar's when they are done. I am also going to can venison this year. Next winter will be great ;)