This is what I've done with summer 2012 and the bounty of our garden (and area farmers). Some call it food security, others call it a waste of effort. We call it darned good eats, from now 'til next summer.
From mid June to the present, I (with a little help) been busy turning fresh fruits and veggies, both grown by us and purchased from local growers, into canned goods, preserves, pickles, jams, jellies and juice. Of course, this is only part of our stash -- there are more shelves around the corner and then there's the whole freezer which is stuffed to the gills.
To those who say why go to the trouble of making pickles when the grocery store has plenty for $2.50 or so, I say why do you go to a concert when you can buy the CD for $15 or the song you like for 99 cents? It is not the same. Besides, the grocery store doesn't have Aunt Lydia's bread and butter pickles, or my Mother's 14 day sweets.
And honestly, turning bowls of tomatoes into bottles of tomato juice, jars of pizza sauce, pasta sauce, tomato-basil jam or even pickled tomatoes is an activity I find tremendously rewarding. The food will nourish our bodies and the process nourishes my soul.
I'm tempted to say I Built This, as the Republicans are so fond of doing lately, but I must acknowledge that a lot of other people helped. Herding old cats, for one, who helped with the growing, picking and even turned a hand to preserving when not busy at work keeping a roof over our head. Then there are the other people, including my Mother, who grew items we put up and the good folks at Ball and Kerr who built the jars and lids and the workers who built our pressure cookers -- do I need to give credit to the folks at GE who built our range? What about TVA for making sure we have electricity to cook this food? I certainly have to give a big hand to the taxpayer funded folks at the USDA Extension Service who developed and tested all those recipes. They have provided generations of American families with safe instructions for preserving food at home, and it's been a darned good public investment.
We literally could not have built this lovely home food bank without a host of other people -- and public entities. I did the last mile's worth of the work, but like most everything else, this wouldn't have been possible without all the things someone else built first.
What have you built lately?