10 Reasons to Preserve Food
Every so often, I get asked this simple question…
“WHY do you preserve food?”
I’m sure I never give the standard, stereotypical answer they are expecting.
I may be a lifelong canner, but like most of you who embark on this journey, I also have a broad background that makes me look at canning with a much wider lens.
I may have training in food preservation, but I am also a mother of two teenage boys and I want to leave the world a little bit better for them.
When a non-canner asks me why I can, I think they expect me to say something about how I am saving food for later.
Of course, that is a big part of it.
But the REAL answer goes deeper than that.
I have some very passionate reasons for doing what I do and I know most canners share many of these reasons with me.
So today, I decided to jot these reasons down. And as I was writing, I realized it was essentially a Manifesto – a list of intentions when canning.
Perhaps some of your own intentions align with mine or maybe my list will spark new reasons for you to continue to put up food every year.
I’m sure you will have a few more to add to the list. (Please tell me in the comments!)
Below, I thought I would share my list of intentions with you.
A Canner’s Manifesto:
10 Compelling Reasons To Preserve Food
I Preserve Food To…
1) Capitalize on Seasonal Flavor. When food is enjoyed within its natural season, it will have the most complex of flavors and the best nutrition. Canning is the ultimate expression of seasonal eating because the whole point is to use fresh ingredients at their peak.
2) Capture That Flavor as a Time Capsule on my Pantry Shelf. The beauty of canning is that later, when the season is long gone I can still enjoy that jar of vine-ripened flavor (even in the middle of winter).
3) Know What is in My Food. I can avoid GMOs and pesticides by choosing only organic, sustainable produce. If I want to put sugar in my jam, then I decide how much and what kind of sugar to use. All the choices of how and what I eat are my own.
4) Support Local because local means fresh and because it helps my local, organic farmers who are doing it right. By eating local, I am voting with my dollar to support farming practices I endorse rather than industrialized farming and cross-country shipping of produce.
5) Save Excess Produce that I grow in my garden or get from a friend so that food is not wasted. Every food gardener gets a bumper crop of zucchini or a tree loaded with excess fruit. Canning gives us a way to save that produce and eliminates waste.
6) Supplement My Menu – especially if times get tough. Growing my own food and preserving it makes me a little bit more self-reliant. The fact that this extra food is also exceptionally delicious is a bonus.
7) Enjoy Flavors Not Found in the Grocery Store. Standard grocery stores only carry foods that can travel long distances and can sit for long periods of time. Canning allows me to seek out lesser-known varieties not found in the stores. Their shorter shelf life makes them perfect candidates for putting up and I can then enjoy the complex colors and flavors of Arkansas black apples, purple asparagus or watermelon radishes, and more. Canning also allows me to experiment with unique herb/spice combinations and create condiments or sauces that make any cook drool.
8) Share Tradition With The Next Generation. By teaching my kids and other children some of these lost arts, I help connect them with traditions from our past while passing on skills that will last beyond my lifetime.
9) Prove That Real Flavor Is On The Inside and that produce does not have to look perfect to be delicious. Bruised and damaged fruit still makes perfect jam and jellies and irregularly shaped cucumbers are always delicious as pickles.
10) Share My Bounty With Others. A jar of “put-up” produce is very easy to share and always appreciated, especially if you include a recipe or list of ideas on how to use it.
Which of the above speaks to you the most??
Or do you have any to add?
Leave your answers in the comments!
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