Wednesday, September 22, 2010

First Day of Autumn & Seasonal Reflections

This picture is a typical view of autumn in this country; soon to be followed by the trees and grasses turning color. We went from 50 degree weather last weekend to 90 degrees on the first day of autumn. Wow - that is a change.  Tonight is supposed to be a full moon and of course Jupiter will be the brightest star in the sky.  Hopefully you had the opportunity to check it out. Our sky was covered in clouds so no Harvest Moon here!

The modern world of food is being closely examined these days for both health & safety. When I saw the article (below) in the paper today, it caused me to reflect on food and what I have been doing here for months. The Local Food movement - Buy & Eat Local and the Slow Food movement are both gaining momentum across America. There are a lot of interesting concepts these days about our food sources and about home food preservation. The idea of home canning often brings to mind an old fashioned picture of our mothers or grandmothers in their aprons in a hot steamy kitchen, wiping sweat from their brows, looking worn and tired. Of course they didn't have A/C or modern appliances and most HAD to put up the food for the winter. But its a picture that most women don't want to insert themselves into!

Over the years as the modern world changed, especially as women joined the outside work force, vegetable gardening and home food preservation fell out of favor. Instead we accepted the food industry's idea of convenience foods. We've recently learned that they processed the foods with chemicals we can't pronounce along with high salt content and high fructrose corn syrup in both canned and frozen foods.  We totally trusted the food manufacturers and we didn't know that the modern foods were causing us to have health problems until recently. So as these health issues and food safety have been highlighted, the public has started to change ideas about their food and that includes such ideas as home gardens, Buy and Eat Local, organic, fresh markets, home food preservation, etc.

Food preservation definitely involves work - it doesn't happen magically - but small batch processing is the answer as I've mentioned before.  If you practice succession planting in the home garden so the entire crop doesn't come in at once; or if you make several trips to the Farmers Market rather than getting all the produce in one day, then small batch processing works. It is such a satisfying activity. I'm happy to see this trend back to preservation of local food.  The last few years before I retired, I started to think about our food and its source--- reading labels, eating less processed foods, changing to whole grain pasta and bread etc; and for the entire 10 years we lived in California, I went to the Farmers Market every Saturday we were in town, rain or shine, to purchase our produce. After retirement I wanted to garden and preserve as much food as possible for the winter. I think I've made a great start but we won't know the real success until we see how the food lasts us through the winter. I can say it has been a tremendously fulfilling process. Check out this article about home canning that started my reflections today:

I'll end my musings with this magnificant video showcasing the book, Great Plains by Michael Forsberg, a Lincoln, NE author. You will see the incredible sky, the vast land and nature that we live with daily here on the Plains ...Enjoy!

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