Saturday, September 01, 2007

September Eat Local Challenge

For the first two Eat Local Challenges, August in 2005 and May in 2006, I proved to be a maniac. I jumped in with my mouth wide open.
I made some mistakes, sure, and I even temporarily "resigned" from the 2006 challenge — only to get back up on my high horse. Frankly, I can be rather annoying about my local habit.
It changed my diet. It changed my cooking. It changed my shopping.
So there's really nothing much for me to accomplish this month by signing on.
Oh, wait, there is! The theme of this month's challenge is "preserving food." I have food that needs preserving, and I need to learn how to go beyond merely saving it in jars in the fridge and plastic bags in the freezer.
So I will personally take the opportunity to learn to can this month.
But I'm still not signing on.
Really, it's just too, too easy for me. I don't want to become a bore.
This morning I walked out into my backyard and "foraged" local, preserved plums.
Nano-local prunes. Lying on the ground under the tree.

29 comments:

csyoung@comcast.net said...

i am a canning loser - never done it. need to learn. not in my immediate future... but i could use a lesson. because having a share in this local csa is kicking my ass big time. the zucchini's, yellow squash, okra, eggplants, peppers - exhaust the hell outa me... but fruit - oh fruit... if i had a fruit tree i'd be its slave...

claudia said...

oops - i didn't sign in... i'm the last post. sorry... both a canning loser and a technical dunce...

Dagny said...

So how do you plan to eat the prunes?

dancingmorganmouse said...

heheheehe those look like something that might come out of the "business" end of a high horse :)
Sorry, I really am just an 8-year-old boy.

Chilebrown said...

They look "Most Nasty" James Brown, Prince, and "The Freak of Soul", Ms. Goofy. Prunzilla

Anna Haight said...

You are never boring.

katiez said...

I've canned (bottled to the Brit's) for years - it's a walk in the park... and much easier in the U.S. I don't think I would have tackled it here as a first-timer!

kudzu said...

I have a very big memory talent (can recall things that happened before my brother was born when I was three) so I can "see" the center in our town where people took produce from their Victory Gardens to be tinned. Later when freezing was a new option there was a "freezer locker" where you could have your produce processed and then kept it for you, since hardly anyone had freezers large enough to store it. I still think that's a great show of community spirit that started out as a patriotic accomodation. But I think they would giggle at your plums!!

tammy said...

Here's another role for you: a consultant to the rest of us newbies!

tammy said...

Also, I'm beginning to think you bought your new house on the basis of how many fruit trees were on the property. You're even smarter than I thought.

Tea said...

I have two words for you: Canning Party.

Really, invite me (I'm back on the 10th). I'll teach you. It'll be fun.

claudia said...

i wanna go to the canning partyyyyyyyyyyy.... (me whining)...
just fly here - i have a big kitchen...

Moonbear said...

Natural preserved plums! The sun did your work for you. Don't strain yourself picking them up.

cookiecrumb said...

Claudia: Silly you. Anyway, yes, I vow to learn to can. And if you had a fruit tree you WOULD be its slave. Those things are relentless. Thank god the pear tree only tyrannized me for one month.

Dagny: The first one, I just popped into my mouth. Like the finest Recchiuti chocolate! So I'm having a hard time thinking of things to "do" with them, other than eating them.

Mouse: You're a poopy head.

Chilebrown: Good. So you won't want one in your mouth. All mine!! :D

Anna: Aw. :) Nor are you. xx (You are home now, yes?)

Katie: I'm rolling up my sleeves, putting my tongue in the corner of my mouth the way you do when you're tackling something new, and... canning! Thanks for the courage.

Kudzu: I still dream of a community commissary, where we could share food processors and freezers and... knowledge.
Yeah, the prunes are paltry. But at least they preserved themselves.

Tammy: No. Dumber than you thought. I didn't know there were fruit trees. I only liked the looks of the gardenable plot of grass.
Have I told you about the orange tree yet? December.

Tea: Book me. You say when; I say where. xxx

Claudia: Here. Tea says when.

Moonbear: I was flabbergasted. I believe they're greengage; not a huge harvest, but if they want to turn themselves into prunes, fine.
Ouch; hard work!! Hah.

Zoomie said...

What a kick! I laughed to know you bought the house without knowing they were fruit trees! What a surprise! We are hip deep in peaches now - shall I bring some over tomorrow, or are you fruited out?

Chilebrown said...

We would love to have the recipe for Lay's Potato Chip Cookies. Do you remember them from the party? They were unusualy good!

Zoomie said...

P.S. I really like the light in that photo, too!

kudzu said...

Cookie--Didn't mean the yield: I was talking about the appearance of your prunes! They do have funny little faces.

The Skinny Gourmet said...

I have long been obsessed with canning, which is not to say I've been exactly experienced with it :) But a friend of mine who does estate sales says that he routinely throws away all the canning supplies of folks after estate sales, so if you are looking to outfit yourself for cheap, and arent somehow opposed to buying from estate sales, could be a good way to go.

Mimi said...

When I first saw the picture, I thought, ahhhh passion fruit. But wait! We see that a lot in southern CA I wasn't sure if you see them a lot up north. Then it all became clear. They are not so pruny prunes! Watch out for pits!!!

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: Oh, gaw. No. Thank you very much. And thanks for taking TWO bags of my pears. We're still knocking the stragglers off the tree, but it seems to be under control. You have my sympathy. (Maybe in a week, come to think of it?)

Chilebrown: The recipe is up at Cooking with Amy. How cool is that?

Skinny: Ooh! Cool advice. Whatsamatta with this young generation, doesn't wanna can?

Mimi: You have reminded me of one of my pangs. There are passionfruit plants growing in local gardens here... but they're private. And I know the residents can't use them all. I wish I could (get up the courage to) just knock on their doors and ask to harvest. sigh

Chilebrown said...

Hey Mimi,
I am pretty sure I have a Passion Fruit Vine. I probably have 8 to 10 dozen fruits.They look nothing like those shriveled up pruny things I will send them to you if you want. I can send a picture first. When you break them open they have these small micro mini cherry like fruits. I have no clue of what to do with them but make jelly! Cookiecrumb can set us up. Hey Cookie, are you sure you did not have some Biggles Squirells leaving calling cards.

Sam said...

I am having my first canning party of the year starting in about 3 minutes in my kitchen. 20lbs of Mariquita San Maranzos here I come... I better start now, I have been putting it off all day, else I'll be up to midnight...

Zoomie said...

No problem, I have workmates I can give the peaches to! And neighbors. And friends. And passing strangers! :-)

Sam said...

After a lot of swearing, lessons learned, nervousness, re-reading the instruction manual over and over, a burnt pan and some patience - I did manage 4 beautiful pints of tomato sauce by 11.30 pm. Now I have mastered the unknown - I am looking forward more to the next time.

I can't tell you how fantastic it makes you feel when ever lid "pops" with a loud noise an the lid dimples down, to tell you that YES - you did manage to do your canning the way it was meant to be done.

Maybe I'll see if I can make pear chutney tonight?

But looking forward to removing the ring seals on my first batch first. That is going to be one helluva moment.

Sam said...

PS - I didn't use all 20lbs of tomatoes to make just 4 pints - i still have some in the fridge and erhhmm, some also got ehrhmm, burnt along the way.

cookiecrumb said...

Sam: Congratulations! I can only imagine the sense of pride you're feeling. Brava. And thanks for the encouragement.

Mimi said...

Hey chilebrown,
Let the fruit shrivel up until it looks like something you may not want to eat. The flesh inside will become soft and fragrant with big crunchy seeds. Passion fruit are heaven!

El said...

Oh, canning is so much easier than it sounds. It takes a fraught few tries at first, but then it's really old hat. There are a few unbending rules, and it does get hot and sweaty, and boy, after you peel your last peach you certainly are tired of it all and can't bear the next steps but...patience!

I'm with Sam: the sound of a dimpling canning lid is up there with my favorites.