As we’re coming off our 40th strawberry seasons at the farm and heading into our late summer crops, we’re already thinking about the winter and how to keep eating healthy local food. A great way to preserve the harvest is pickling.
Much of human history has been concerned with making sure there is enough food around. Half of the battle is finding the food, whether you are hunting and gathering, pasturing animals, or farming. The other half is preserving food to eat through periods of scarcity – for us the bitterly cold winters. Preserving has traditionally been done with smoking, salting, pickling, fermenting, drying, and cellaring. Only recently have fridges and freezers made it as easy as it is to preserve our food, and without the work and transformations that happen with other methods. Moreover, with imported foods abolishing concerns of seasonality, fresh foods are available year-round where people have access to grocery stores.
Despite this, we at the farm still love pickling and preserving in all forms. For one, you can’t beat the taste of an expertly preserved vegetable, steeped in sweet garlic or pungent herbs. Moreover, we love how it brings the family together around food – a great opportunity a learn about traditions, how things were in the old days, and appreciate the work that goes into putting good food on the table. For us canning is a wonderful way to experience the harvest not once but twice, when we are canning together and eating later on!
Come visit the farm for all your pickling needs – cucumbers of all sizes, summer squash, garlic, dill, tomatoes – and for some great recipes and advice in the art of canning.