Planning Ahead For Sustainability’s Sake

frozen-berries

So you’re probably wondering why I’ve posted a picture of a bag full of strawberries (some really beautiful ones) to begin this blog post…  It all started over a year ago when I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  I’m a huge fan of her writing in general and really liked the book.  At that time I was a bit tied into the sustainable food world but I’d say that book (along with Omivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food) really made it click for me.

There were a few things from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle that stuck with me.  The first is the chapter about the turkeys and the second relates to farmer’s markets and sustainability.  I remember her buying tomatoes in large quantities at the end of the season and canning them for winter.  She goes on to say that this is helpful to the farmer since he/she needs to get rid of produce that will go bad and will allow you to have a wider variety of food throughout the year while still eating locally.  In California the growing seasons are longer and we’ll probably have berries long into the fall but recently I started thinking of doing my own version of this.

I’ve never canned anything before, last summer we went strawberry picking and tried our hands at making jam and I think that’s about as far as I’ll get.

Simultaneous to my idea about freezing/canning/etc my boyfriend and I went to see a nutritionist.  We each had different questions and met with her separately but one of the things we’re both doing now is making protein smoothies for breakfast.  They generally contain some fruit, yogurt, protein and fiber.  For most of us, when we think of smoothies we think of something tropical from Jamba Juice but those fruits aren’t certainly aren’t local – not even in sunny California.  They also aren’t organic.  We did some research at our local Whole Foods and it turns out that there is frozen organic fruit but it comes from far off lands so that didn’t work either!

We frequent the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer’s Market so I started receiving CUESA‘s newsletter.  Last week’s issue said that berries would be at the market!  Very exciting for a berry lover like me!  Following in Barbara Kingsolver’s footsteps we decided to buy large quantities of local organic berries through the summer and freeze them for smoothies in the winter.  Fortunately the berries last weekend were incredible so we stocked up.  The other added bonus is that summer is when berries are cheapest so the whole thing just plain logical.  Come to think of it I think I’ll do the same with peaches and nectarines!  Feel free to share you expriences with canning and preserving!

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5 Responses to “Planning Ahead For Sustainability’s Sake”

  1. debby Says:

    I’ve frozen fruits and veggies for later in the season; canned jams, chutneys, and pickles; and made sauerkraut.

    I’d rather not make so much jam (all that sugar when I’m trying to cut down), but in the end, all I have is the regular-size freezer in my fridge, and so far no way of shoe-horning a chest freezer into my small apartment. Any suggestions for how to maximize what can fit in a freezer?

  2. Miri Levitas Says:

    Debby, I have a regular-sized freezer too. I think ziplock bags (though not the most environmentally friendly) are the best option because they can fit in smaller places more easily. I did some sandwich bags and some larger bags. I have shelves on my freezer door and the bags fit perfectly! Good luck!

  3. Shoshana Says:

    A few summers ago I was lucky enough to be near an amazing farmers market that I went to most days. In addition to making 7 flats of jam (that I am still working through) I froze a bunch of fruit. The best investment I have ever made was the vacuum sealer I got that summer. By vacuum sealing the fruit it prevents freezer burn so you can store them longer, and it takes up less space because all the air is removed leaving a small compact brick of just fruit. I now use it for just about anything I want to freeze for more than a few days, and the bags are reusable. It is also great for resealing bags of cheese/nuts etc so they stay fresh longer. Well worth it!

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