Monday, June 11, 2007
It takes energy to consume energy.
I watch the hummingbirds that visit my patio, beating their wings frenetically as they sniff some red decoy, like a plastic bottle cap. Poor things. All that flapping and nary a drop to drink. Still, they beat on, seeking nectar. They seem to spend all day scurrying for sustenance. Energy out, energy in.
I am similarly guilty. I buy food locally as much as possible, reducing the petro-miles of my diet, but I do turn on the oven or stove now and then to cook it.
I refrigerate food. That takes electricity. The refrigerator is never off.
I was all hippie-dippie proud of myself the other day for preserving some highly seasonal Bing cherries. I thought "How cool, I'll have cherries in the off-season. I'm such a provider."
But Sam asked what the carbon footprint on my little project might amount to. True, it took hours and hours to get the cherries dry enough to store in a jar. Hours and hours in my electric food dehydrator. I'm not going to guess how much power it uses, but... it hadn't occurred to me to consider it at all! I just thought I was being smart.
Smack my ass and call me silly.
Food dehydrating is possible without electricity. I know. I've done it. I have a jar of wonderful Thai peppers that I dried simply on a baking sheet in the sun. Didn't take long, and they genuinely dried, without cooking.
So Cranky and I have spent the past couple of days devising ways to use our perfect microclimate for drying. We have a lot of sun and quite a bit of breeze. We're not there yet, but it shouldn't be too difficult to find a method that will exclude vermin while allowing light and air in. I'm not sure what my first natural project will be.
But today I cranked up the electric dehydrator one more (last?) time to preserve some mushrooms. They dried really fast, honest.
Posted by cookiecrumb at 3:39 PM