Preserving food is an ancient ritual that remains popular today. This concept is one of the key tenements of Mindful Eating Everyday®. At the end of the growing season I have fond memories of canning everything: cherries, tomatoes, green beans, pickles and corn. We also froze many fruits and vegetables; peaches, corn, peas, and peppers. Many of our neighbors were experts in drying food to preserve this precious gift. The ritual of canning brings up memories of neighbors, family, work, and lots of fun.
Preservation of food was critical for the survival of tribes and communities. Throughout history we have learned better methods of canning, freezing, and drying food so we can enjoy the nutritional goodness of our food later in the year.
Many of us today do not know how to can or preserve food because grocery stores have readily accessible food. I invite you to join our community of people who love to preserve food for those cold winter nights when we conjure up delicious soups and bake yummy peach cobbler with our summer treasures.
There are several reasons why we love to preserve food:
- Ritual: One of my most loving times of laughter I had with my grandmothers was canning with them. It was so much fun to pick cherries and stay with my granny and can for the week. We laughed, stayed up late, and she rocked me to sleep.
- Fresh food. There is nothing like opening a canned jar of your own tomatoes and pouring them into your soup on a cold winter day. We tell stories and laugh as we eat our soup and remember our garden.
- Meaning. Preserving food creates a value in our family that is hard to describe. Our lives are more mindful and meaningful because we respect our food.
- Memories. I can still see and smell my grandmother with her apron on in front of the stove stirring the tomatoes before we made the tomato juice. I was in charge of filling the jars and my granny watched me with such pride. I felt so grown, important, and loved. We shared our lives in a deeply profound way through preserving food.
- Family time. For those of us who want to create more meaning and family time in our busy family lives, I invite you to preserve food with your children. If you do not have a garden or no time for a garden go to a local farmers market and purchase tomatoes, corn, peaches, or beans to can, freeze, or dry. My daughters and I have rich memories of canning late into the night and falling asleep on the couch beside each other hearing the cans pop, pop, pop, as they sealed throughout the night. We woke up sticky and full of love.