Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An Idea I Can Get Behind

Listening to the radio (NPR of course) on the way home last week, I heard an intriguing report. Apparently there are now canning "swap groups." These are people who can, preserve, pickle, dry or otherwise harvest who get together and trade their products with other folks.

The way it works is this: I have a lot of blackberry jam, but no blueberry. I also have a lot of dried basil, but no elderberry wine. You have wine, and you want some of my jam. We trade. Simple, and boy does this sound like a lot of fun.

You know how it is when you garden or harvest wild foods--some years you're just covered up in one thing (pears this year) but something else fails (apples--they got frosted this year). Then there's the fact that some plants just don't do well in your garden but thrive in your neighbor's garden.

Have you participated in such a swap? If so, how did it work? Were you satisfied with the results of your trades?

I would love to try this. I suppose the hardest part would be finding enough people in a local area to participate. But just imagine how all of our cellars would suddenly diversify if we could trade cider for raspberry preserves or garlic for dried apples.

I hope this exchange expands this year. I sure would be like to start one in my area. How aobut you?

10 comments:

warren said...

Sounds like a great idea...only thing I wonder about is safety. Some folks I know take a lot of liberty with their canning methods, esp not following temp guidelines (i.e. they don't like pressure cookers). More than likely it would never be a big deal (Grandma never used a pressure cooker) but if it ever was, it could be a bad problem. Just a thought. Otherwise, it sounds great!

Granny Sue said...

I thought the same thing, Warren. I suppose there'd have to be some rules--like if it's a low-acid food, it must be processed in a pressure canner. Or maybe the swap is limited to only those items not requiring a pressure canner--which is a lot of things: fruits, jams and jellies, wines, cider, tomatoes. salsa, pickles...that might simplify.

There might need to be some sort of waiver or "hold-harmless" agreement too. If I have time, I will try to contact one of the people interviewed to see how their swap was set up.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

What a great idea! -- barbara

Markin said...

I know of someone who participates in something vaguely similar, but with soup. She and her friends (four, five people at most) each makes a huge batch of a different soup; they come together and sample each other's soups for lunch; then each takes a container of each other person's soup home. In other words: bring one huge batch of soup A; take home four smaller containers of soups B, C, D, and E.

Janet, said...

Sounds like a neat idea.

Granny Sue said...

Markin, I like that idea too! I might just try that next winter. What fun to taste the different kinds and get to take them home to enjoy later.

Country Whispers said...

Great idea as long as you know it was all prepared safely. Everyone could really benefit from a swap such as this.

Farmchick said...

I have not participated in one of these swaps, but it sounds like such a great idea. Plus, you get the bonus of honest, clean food. I always learn so many new things when I listen to NPR.

TheresaandJay said...

I think there might be an added dimension to our sister get togethers. :) For instance, I can never grow peppers, but I know a Granny Sue who can! I like this idea alot.

Granny Sue said...

Now that's a good idea, Theresa. I'm for it!

And Jessica, you're right of course, and I was thinking about that as I listened to the radio. They must have some guidelines. On the other hand, most country cooks I know prepare much safer food than what I can buy at the store. I know my home-cooked food doesn't have an allowance for a percentage of rat droppings, insect parts and such, like most prepared food does. And I don't add red dye to old meat to freshen it up :)

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