In our lands, the preservation of food during the periods of surplus for the gray days is an ancient custom, which is still preserved in some households. The process has a cyclicity related to local seasons and traditions. Of course, nowadays you don’t need to put potatoes, onions and carrots in the cellar in the autumn, because you can find them in the store. And sometimes the cumulative cost of preparing canned food (ingredients, utilities, energy and personal time) can be higher than the cost of the goods on the shelf. In addition, many may know how to make a jar of jam, but not everyone knows how to prepare pork ham or smoked sausages. Even the simple act of freezing is conditioned by the existence of logistics and electricity that works constantly.
Well, then what’s the point of talking about preserving and freezing in our green kitchen? Here are some benefits from my personal experience:
- it is a good way not to waste products when you have a larger quantity;
- you can use products that you would not consume in their original form – fruits, which look dubious and from which you make jam or vegetables, transformed into sauces or pickles;
- you prolong the duration of food consumption – vegetables processed into veggie spread, raw meat transformed into homemade sausages;
- you can cook once and freeze to consume in the following weeks/ months, thus consuming less energy and time;
- you control salt, sugar, other preservatives used, and ingredients;
What can you preserve? Virtually anything, there are tons of recipes on the internet or in books. Or you can do a poll among your relatives, you will surely write at least two books on this topic. :))) We still make jams, which have a lot of fruit and a minimum of sugar in them; autumn is for zacusca/ veggie spread and pickles. And because we have a Chef in the family, sometimes we also prepare meat specialties. My grandmother used to make compote and vegetables mix for soups, I have an aunt who makes the best tomato juice and stews mix. The only problem is the storage space – you need a temperature-controlled pantry or cellar that allows you to store cans on a long-term basis.
What can you freeze? Anything. 🙂 Meat, vegetables, fruits, semi-processed or ready-made food. I’ve been a fan of frozen cooked food for two years now, because it saves me from cooking every day. So far I have experimented with various Italian, Mexican or Asian food recipes, including doughs, breads and muffins. Yummy! Mom freezes cabbage rolls – I know, it wouldn’t have crossed your mind. :))) And her genius beef stew sauce.
If you haven’t done this before, then you can start with a recipe or two, right from this month’s #cookingbookclub. Or with your favorite product. If you have already made canned food, you can experiment with new recipes. And if it’s not for you, it’s okay. Right now we are living in happy times, with an incredible variety of products in store. But try to consume from ethical producers and those interested in green cuisine and food sustainability.