Summer Week #14: Wednesday, September 11th – Group B EOs
Perhaps it’s my love of simple, beautiful art depicting food preservation.
Perhaps it’s because every spare moment I have these days is dedicated to putting up food.
Or perhaps it’s my lack of lively new topics… but this week I am writing again about storing food for winter.
Zea is almost 4, and for the first time she is really beginning to understand the concept of putting up food for the winter. And help too! It’s kind of a hard concept to grasp – the idea that food only grows a certain time of the year and that you must save some for when it’s not readily available. I think this is an especially hard concept for kids today, because 1) most kids don’t grow up on vegetable farms and 2) there is no seasonality in a grocery store.
The concept, however, is starting to make sense for Zea. No lettuce in February. No winter squash in July. One book that has been particularly fun and excellent at helping drive home the idea of storing food for winter is Blueberries for Sal. Have you read it? If not, it’s worth checking it out, even if you don’t have children. The School Library Journal describes the book best:
“Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! Sal and her mother are picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter. Meanwhile Sal’s mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries! Will each mother go home with the right little one?
With its expressive line drawings and charming story, Blueberries for Sal has won readers’ hearts since its first publication in 1948.”
The story has a delightful symmetry to it, and it constantly reminds that while bears and people are different, when it comes to winter, we have a lot in common. We both have to store food for the winter. I love that the book was written in 1948. It came right at a time when families, for the first time, no longer had to store food (like bears still do) for the winter as a necessity.
Fast-forward to 2013. The book is still hugely popular. We still don’t have to store food for the winter. But slowly, as a culture, we are re-learning that putting up food our own local food for winter is probably a pretty smart idea for the planet – or at least smarter than shipping red bell peppers from New Zealand in December.
So far this summer we have put up (mostly by freezing in quart freezer bags, with the exception of the pickles): 5 qts asparagus; 32 qts strawberries; 13 qts. blueberries; 18 pints raspberries; 44 qts. pickles; 21 qts. sweet corn. All of the food has been from our own farm except the blueberries.
There are so many foods to go! Our pear tree is dropping fruits left and right. The concord grapes are ready for juicing. Looming large on the canning horizon is tomato and apple sauce, as well as edamame and sweet peppers to be frozen.
The harvest season is upon us!
We wish all of you luck in your preservation adventures.