We seem to be in the height of the harvest now and it is a great opportunity for people to grab what they can to enjoy the tastes of summer through the winter. Can you imagine tasting a summer peach in February? The ones available in the supermarket are currently in flower in South America. They will be harvested a bit green to make the 1500+mile journey to us without spoiling. They will be presented in the grocery store a bit hard and you will ripen them on the counter. When you taste it, it will be very pale in flavor compared to the tree ripened, freshly harvested fruit you can pick up in the market.
So what can you do?
You COULD consider eating in season. We used to do that when I was little because fruits and veggies grown overseas and brought in were very expensive. Then shipping prices dropped and here we are, expecting to eat watermelon in January. Consumer demand drives corporate decisions. If we the people who love our food to taste good decide we will not buy unripe produce during the winter three things can happen:
- The stores will reduce what they bring in.
- Local farmers probably will pick up the slack as much as the climate permit.
- We learn that eating in season brings a lot of joy as we welcome a favorite flavor once again for the first time.
And there is a fourth, but it’s all on you: preserve the food available in season. You can freeze (easy), dehydrate (also easy and you can pick up a dehydrator that will work well for you for as little as $50), canning (a bit of a learning curve and you need a huge canning pot and attention to food safety issues), and freeze drying (if you have a spare $3500 to purchase one, I want to use it for just 2 kinds of processing, please).
Of course, there is an easy way: shop Can-Do Real Food and stock your pantry.
For example, right now we have a lot of dehydrated fruit offered as single types, combinations and fruit leather (roll-ups). Can you imagine buying some watermelon strips now and holding them in your cupboard until January? That will be a ripe full-flavored yumminess.
The tomatoes began to show up in the market a few weeks ago and last week the farmers who provide surplus to Can-Do Real Food started sharing. I had enough to make salsa, some mild (golly gee, people, I ONLY used bell peppers…..and some mild Hatch chilis that barely stirred my palate, so be BRAVE) and some we loaded with jalpenos and more but Graham says it is “medium”. Heat lovers will have to taste to know if it provides enough pain/pleasure. So, when you buy, buy TWO and put one in the back of your cupboard and forget about it……until the holiday gatherings. Then pull out the taste of August!
The next tomato project is the Loaded Pasta Sauce. Buy 6, get 10% off. Buy 8 and get your choice of a small (9 ounce) jar or a small dehydrated bag of your choice free. Buy 12 and get 15% off (and the freebie that you earn at 8).
Why do I suggest this? Because eating locally grown food supports our neighbors, the farmers who work from beyond sunrise to sundown in all kids of weather. I want you to enjoy eating local food year-round and if you don’t preserve today’s harvest, take advantage of the fact that I do…with no artificial anything.