By Kristine Root, Slow Food Member and Preserving Expert
If you enjoy cooking, seasonally batching a few rounds of preserves can be lots of fun. And if you ask me, it’s even better preserving with friends! This sort of coming together around food is exactly what I love about Slow Food. Food is community, joy, something to savor and share in together.
Eating local doesn’t just taste better, it is better! There are so many reasons to indulge in the bliss of local and seasonal eating. Let’s just run through a few of my favorites:
● Greater variety and heirloom foods. Small-scale local farmers are actually artisanal thinkers, often growing heirloom varieties you can’t find at the market. One of the perks of heirlooms is delicious gourmet meals.
● Higher nutritional value. Let’s face it, I studied holistic nutrition and I am a mom. I want to make sure that my kiddos (and the rest of us) get all of the powerhouse antioxidants and other amazing nutrients available to our bodies through the intricate delivery system built into whole foo
● Supporting a strong local economy by keeping money local and in the hands of thoughtful, heart-driven, small-scale, sustainable farmers who work to feed our communities.
● Cleaner air! Growing food locally supports better air quality by limiting the carbon emissions necessary to transport food long distances. Plus, the beautiful vegetation close to home helps to purify the air we breathe.
Have you ever grown your own garden, been a CSA member, or had a friend who loved to garden? Then you know the bounty comes in huge quantity at the peak of harvest. Fresh produce has a short shelf life, so how do you seize the day when it comes to bounty? Don’t fret, the generations before us have already solved the dilemma- preservation!
I’d love to say that I got into preserving as a die-hard locavore, but that wouldn’t be the truth. I choose local as much as possible, but let’s face it, Colorado has a short growing season and I enjoy vegetables and variety too much to commit to a full seasonal diet. What actually got me into preserving was healthy gut bacteria; aka probiotics. My first and true love in the preserving world is fermented foods. Every tradition around the world has developed some form, if not several forms of fermented food and aside from making food last longer, it also improves the bioavailable nutrients, improves health and tastes delicious.
I could go on and on about fermented foods, but I won’t do that here. If you are interested in hearing more join Slow Food Denver for our 2015 Preserving series that kicks off this coming Sunday, September 13th at the Kitchen on the Green in Aurora. Fellow Slow Food member and cooking teacher Gigia Kolouch and I will be showing you the ropes on preserving as we make up a few batches of tasty preserves using canning, jamming and fermenting techniques from this year’s local food abundance all while having lots of fun.