Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sustainable September 2016 -Day Twenty Six

Hello again,

Today's sustainable September idea is about buying seasonal food. 

However some times when you buy seasonally you can often get a lot of the same type of thing at once. So when you have an abundance you need to think about how to store it so when it isn't in season you can still enjoy it without so many painful environmental impacts. 

Which leads me to my next idea: 

Sustainable September Day Twenty Six: preserve your own food. 

When I talk about preserving food, I'm not just talking about making jam with excess fruits... Coz that's what I think about when talking about preserves. But I am talking about making our excess foods last longer. 

Freezing some things is an option. Particularly meats for up to 6 months (but you could also cure meats for a longer preservation date). For a better guide to Freezing foods check out this one from Good Housekeeping.

You can do literally hundreds of different things to preserve and prepare food for the future anytime you have excess. 

Right now I have a lot of lemons so we have done a range of things so far: juiced the lemons and stored the juice in the freezer for when someone wants "fresh lemon juice" or for a hot tea; we have peeled the skin of the lemons and cut it into fine strips to make lemon essence; we have turned some into lemon butter; and we have also made a light lemonade. 

However I have been eyeing off a lemoncelo recipe ever since tasting the drink in Rome three years ago. I found a good one to use from this blog 
Confessions of a Foodie. I know it's not for everyone (particularly those under the age of 18 in Australia & 21 in the USA), however storing some things in alcohol is one way of preserving the flavours. I also preserve and make vanilla essence with vanilla beans in vodka.

There are then fruits to preserve... For example strawberries are in season here at the moment. Strawberry jam/jelly is amazing. And also using strawberries to make frozen smoothies or ice lollies/icy poles are delicious too. And then there is always the option of dehydrating strawberries , with a dehydration machine. Or turning it into fruit leathers for kids (or grownups) to take to school (or work/Uni). 

Then there are foods like tomatoes. When in season we use them to make chutneys, and a delicious roasted tomato sauce that seems to last for ages even though we eat a lot of it when we make it. 

And then there is preserving things in jars. There is more information on the Green Living Australia Website. You can get all kinds of information about canning from here. 

Front Lines: Judy Price is one (of hundreds of people ) who is educating people around the word on the safety and ways to preserve food through canning. I really enjoyed the short video she did with the support of the American company Tractor Supply Co. 

Kindness idea: make up some extra jams and/or preserves and donate it to a local fete, cake stall or charity event. 

We often make up chutney and jam for an end of year CWA stall to raise money for charity. 

However we often make some jams to use as swaps/ bartering for other produce. Recently we were given a whole heap of grapefruit. We turned it into marmalade and I was able to take some to a Transition Community event which I used to swap for a heap of other food from people in my community. 

It was amazing. I swapped a couple excess jars of Grapefruit Marmalade and 10 empty egg boxes for a range of things seen in the picture below:

It was wonderful. All the food was local, seasonal and organic. It was the trifecta of environmentally sustainable porduce. All the things brought on the day were the excess from people's gardens and homes. We were truely blessed. 

I hope his finds you all well. 
Love Daena 

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