Preserving food is as old as civilization and is enjoying a resurgence thanks in part to the good food revolution. People want to eat local longer and preserving food makes that possible. If you arrived on this page, then you are probably contemplating, if not fully committed, to the idea of preserving whether it be canning, dehydatrating or freezing. What motivates you? Here are my top 10 reasons to preserve the harvest:
- Capture food at its peak of flavor.
- Support your local economy by allocating a bigger portion of your food budget to local sources–family farms in your region.
- Gain a personal sense of satisfaction in becoming more self-reliant. If you grow the food that you preserve, that is really getting in touch with your inner pioneer–that’s the American CAN do spirit!
- Eat food that is more nutritious. The USDA has done studies showing that food harvested at its peak and quickly preserved has a higher nutrient content than food harvested early, stored for weeks and shipped for 1000’s of miles.
- Save money. When a fruit or veggie is at peak season in a region, the price is generally lower. Buy lots at that lower price, preserve it and save.
- Save time when it counts. Preparing and freezing 8 pounds of peppers at a leisurely pace on a Saturday with my kids, means I can pull out ready-to-cook-peppers right at meal time on a busy school night for a quick stir-fry.
- Worry less about food safety. Commericially canned foods are lined with bisphenol A. (BPA) and even minimally processed foods like pickles contain preservatives and additives. Your own canned creations do not.
- Worry even less about food safety. E. coli tainted greens and peppers do not grow in your backyard, nor do they come from small local farms.
- Build community. I have canning parties with friends, share pickles with neighbors and know my farmers. The farmers give me seconds on apples and tomatoes for a good price, and I repay them with fruit leathers and stewed tomatoes.
- Enjoy a fun hobby with useful results.
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