I loved the idea/ question that inspired this post – what are projects that were the ‘gateway’ to preserving more and going beyond the basics?
Before I share a list, I should start with the ultimate ‘gateway’: repetition and experience. Learning to preserve is an easy skill and it’s almost unbeleivable that once you’ve made a few batches of preserves that most people know most everything they’ll ever need to preserve safely and happily for the rest of their lives. Things don’t get a whole lot tougher than water bath canning jam; the real gateways (in my opinion) are confidence, learning basic techniques and then learning to use what you’ve made in many different ways (i.e. jam doesn’t have to be a condiment only – we’ll share a post on Wednesday about that very topic).
Here are 5 of our gateway projects:
- Strawberry jam. It was important because I learned I could make what my Grandmother and my parents had for years. And it tasted good! And it was easy!
- Herbes Salees. It allowed me to use fresh herbs (many from our garden) for more than a year and connected me with food of my heritage and has made me curious to learn more about the roots of preserving in my own (and other cultures).
- Infused Booze and vinegar. It showed me that you could make a micro batch (some of our infusions are 0.5 cup) and that preserving doesn’t have to be a giant process.
- Tomatoes. They are abundant, affordable, local and they brought preserved food from ‘the side of the plate’ (i.e. condiments) to the middle and showed me we could use preserving as part of a full diet. I had watched my parents preserving them as a child and avoided the work. They would later show me how preserving can be a family event and a fun event. Dana and I preserve our tomatoes with my parents every year.
- Mushroom Powder. Taught me that preserving could emphasize a single ingredient and actually create ingredients for cooking through the winter. The idea of making an ingredient was a turning point in how we preserve – and how we cook.
What would be on your list?
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