I’m not getting all vegan, raw food crazy here but I am starting to think about an idea I read about in Four Season Harvest. And that is eating fresh food, not embalmed food. You’ve probably seen my review of the book but now I keep revisiting the idea of eating fresh food all year.
A quote from the introduction of the book sums it all up. “We adore fresh food, what we call “real food,” the fresher the better. We have never considered the many-month-old embalmed remains of last summer’s harvest, whether canned or frozen, to be real food.”
Yikes, that seems radical and somewhat offensive to us canners doesn’t it? But I have to admit that I agree. This is an idea that has popped up in my conversations with Robert over the last year or so. Should we be using our time and resources to can our food or should we be choosing crops that store better in their natural state, potatoes, carrots, squash, parsnips, wheat, etc. Robert has shared examples with me from blogs he follows about those who never can their summer harvest. In fact they avoid growing tomatoes, scandalous I know. It always seemed impossible but now that I have read Four Season harvest I am beginning to think again. Instead of growing 27 tomato plants, yes we did that, use the ground to plant more sweet potatoes and devote some space to the winter garden or cold frames. Don’t worry I could never give up tomatoes and I find they are the most used and rewarding canned vegetable. But I am considering altering how we plant our garden, which foods we grow and how we store them.
Here’s what I am thinking (I always think in bullet points so bear with me, right brainers):
- Summer crops stored in the field – carrots, parsnips, brussel sprouts, plus so many more
- Summer crops stored in the root cellar – potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, onions, wheat, oats, sunflower seeds, plus so many more
- Summer crops canned – tomatoes, pickled this or that, jams galore
- Winter crops eaten fresh – mache, scallions, endive, spinach, baby lettuce, plus so many more
This would be a pretty radical shift from almost all of our summer crops getting canned or pickled and only a small holding of potatoes and sweet potatoes in the root cellar. But oh how freeing this new plan is. Don’t get me wrong I love to can as much as the next sweaty, exhausted gal but I could use a break. Plus I am not all that fond of pressure canning, it scares me. Now all we need is a place to grow the food and we are set. No more dead, embalmed food for us. What do you think?