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Putting Food By

If you grew up in the rural areas of Appalachia, you’ve probably heard this term.  Simply defined, it means saving food for the times when it’s not plentiful.

Personally, I’m all for acting like a squirrel; gather it when it’s plentiful and preserve it for tough times.  I’m an avid canner.  I buy in bulk at the Farmer’s Markets (I typically visit 2 or 3 per weekend during the summer) and can, can, can!  At any given time you’ll find jars and jars of home-canned green beans, tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato sauce, chili sauce, soups, sweet potatoes, pie fillings, salsas, chicken, beef, etc., in my house.

I also freeze!  We have 2 large deep freezers stocked with zucchini bread, zucchini soups, tomato soup, farm-raised beef, pumpkin puree, applesauce, etc.

For Christmas this year, I bought a high-quality food dehydrator.  I plan to dehydrate tomatoes, corn, beans, zucchini, fruits and onions for later use.  Dehydrated foods offer a light-weight and space-saving alternative for people who don’t can and don’t have freezer space.

I realize that I’m probably in the minority when it comes to my attitude about “putting food by” until it’s needed later on.  Twenty-four hour grocery stores and the ability to get almost any food at any time have conditioned us into not keeping a lot of food on hand at any given time.  I’ve heard, more than once, that an average American city only has 3-days worth of food on hand at any given time.  Three days!  What would happen in the event of a trucking strike, natural disaster or continued rising gas prices?

My point in this post is to encourage each of you to consider ways to take advantage of food when it’s available, use what you need, and save the rest for later on.  I’m going to do a series of posts about cooking in bulk, freezing, canning and dehydrating as the warm weather approaches.

I’m also doing something this summer I’ve never done before…I’m going to grow a huge garden with some dear friends and see how much produce I get.  I’ll take photos and weigh the foods and show you how I preserve the foods for later on.

I hope you’ll join me in this journey.  Grow your own garden, even if it’s a container garden, on your patio or deck!

Just think of me as a little squirrel, gathering an abundance of food and saving it for winter!