Sunday, 22 August 2010

Preservation Orders and the Pantry (1)

I am a great believer in seasonal food and enjoying foods as they come into season, but I also love putting up food for those dark days of winter when everything is grey and cold. Being able to eat well during those grey days is what spurs me on to do more and more myself for my pantry shelf.  But its not that far back that if we didn't put down a much food as we could - we just would not have survived through the winter months of the year.  With large supermarkets containing near enough everything we could wish, dream or hope for - there would appear to be no need to do anything about it. But hey, life has a habit of kicking things into touch when you least expect it.

 I am not so sure about this practice of over-reliance as we only have to go back as far as the Second World War to see the effect of food not being available and everything being rationed.  I think an over-reliance on what is available in the shop can be dangerous, and I think that is why I like to hedge my bets so to speak and have my own store available to me, contrived by different methods of squirrelling away whatever comes your way throughout the year. Its hard work at times but  I actually love doing this sort of thing and I get a lot of pleasure and satisfaction out of this.  I don't always manage to make what I would like to make, but somewhere down the line I do try and fit things in, even though I am working full time.

It was bought home to us with a bump a few years ago when there was a power problem  in the States a few years ago and the over dependence on oil.  We need to get back to a more sustainable way of living I also think that living in a small village for many years where there weren't hardly any shops, when you did go shopping i.e. once a month usually you used to stock up for all sorts of eventualities so that you always had something to feed the family with or make use of something else with the addition of a few ingredients became very ingrained, because for the best part I still run my Pantry  and Freezer this way and the times that it has got us out of trouble are numerous.  I have a belief that if the Pantry is well stocked then you have no need to worry where the next meal is coming from.  We eat well and plainly - nothing too exotic although from time to time I do have a go at something different, but it gets us by at the end of the day. Somedays we only have what I call a scratch meal, something simple like pasta with home made pasta sauce, which is scrummy and satisfying to boot.

My latest passion is bottling fruit in order that we have a supply of good food through the winter months. An old method but one that is cost effective as the jars sit on the shelf once processed .  Okay you have the initial outlay for the bottles and seals, but once this is paid out all you have to pay for are the ingredients for re-filling them with and new seals (a box of 12 new seals currently costs £3).  Even if everyone just put up a few jars of this and that it all helps to get you into a mind-set where you are getting used to doing things on a regular basis then after that you go on automatic pilot and just do things as needed (well I do). And if you have empty jars you will want to fill them as they need to earn their keep).

I would dearly love a "Canner" in order that I could then process things like pate and confits etc.  But that one will have to go on the backburner for a while.  But that will not stop me with playing with things like home made faggots or Savoury Ducks as I know them in the months to come, but I think next on the list will be having a go at some Greenback bacon. Bacon is a big favourit with everyone here.

In the meantime, I will try and do what I can with the various options open to me i.e the Jam Pantry, The Freezer, The Cellar and next year the Garden is going to be playing its part too

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Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)