As usual we have been trying to keep up with the harvest. Preserving that harvest is just as important if not just a little bit more important than growing the food itself. Really, my point is that one part of the process is just as important as another, but what would be the point of all that harvest if it didn’t get eaten now and saved some for later?
Tomatoes have been coming in by the pound and there has been lots to do with them. Charred tomato and chile salsa, ketchup, and now we have almost 50 pounds of paste tomatoes sitting in our front foyer waiting to be made into sauce later this week. I had to laugh at Liana Krissoff’s story in her book Canning for a New Generation, about how her dad one year put up 200 quarts of tomatoes in just two days! He must not have slept. Part of me just wishes that I could be that resourceful and quick in my food processing and preserving ways, but that amount of work seems just a tad extreme as well…especially with a newborn in tow. Someday maybe I’ll be that crazy. For now I just appreciate the small batches that both Jason and I can muster together.
Its really amazing to me just how much food and effort and work and time go into preserving, well, not that much food. It’s the same concept as home made hand made goods. A whole lot of time goes into hand spinning and dying yarn…and knitting a hat. If you went by an hourly rate, that hat would go for hundreds, but that’s not the case. No one is going to pay $300 for a hand knit hat! In the same sense, I could go to the store and buy canned tomato sauce for a dollar…but who made that sauce? How were the tomatoes grown? Where? Stored? Processed? With care? And love? No, most likely by a machine…and in haste. I think it’s important when doing things oneself, by hand, to remember that the real drive behind it all is because we love what we do. We grow and preserve food, not to make or save money, but instead because it is important to us and our family…it’s a lifestyle that we care about and can be proud of. We wind up knowing where exactly our food came from, seed to canned good. In the long run we are saving money, but certainly not time or labor wise, but since these things are ways of life that we love…it all equals out in the end, as it should. Nothing more. Nothing less. We are left with a sense of balance.
Our summer squash plants seem to be petering out, but I gathered enough last week to make a batch of bread and butter summer squash with ginger. I just really have this drive to preserve as much out of what we have grown as I can. And even though I know I’ve done a lot, especially with a baby in tow, I just feel like it’s not enough. Someday I would love to be able to preserve enough of everything in creative and practical ways to make it most of the way through winter. Each year I’d love to put away just a little bit more; just a few more jars. I also have this desire to make and store almost everything in Liana’s book. (Yes, we are on a first name basis at this point…even though she doesn’t have any inkling of my existence;).
We have hot peppers growing out our ears, much to Jason’s delight. He has big plans for lots of hot things, but for now we have a bunch dehydrated for cayenne powder, hot pepper flakes, and some rooster sauce. Anyone out there have a hot sauce aficionado in the house? Pepper Fool’s sriracha sauce is on the menu.