Monday, June 18, 2012
The Top Ten Dangers of Home-Raised, Home-ProcessedFood
2. Homegrown broccoli is delicious, dark green and full of flavor. Be prepared for the occasional surprise protein, though: cabbage moths lay eggs that hatch little worms that hide in the dense heads of broccoli. You can usually find these while cleaning the flowerets prior to cooking, but every now and then one sneaks past. Just sayin', be prepared.
4. Turtles like tomatoes, did you know? You might have a lovely heritage variety plant with a big one ripening, but when you go to pick it, the turtle has been there before and taken big bites from the underside. Blossom-end rot might also give you a nasty surprise when you pick your beauty; its damage is also usually hidden from top view.
5. Your kitchen looks like a farmer's market gone awry by late July. Baskets of over-ripe tomatoes, corn needing to be shucked, bushels of green beans, and buckets of cucumbers await you daily. The chickens even get picky about what excess produce they'll eat.
7. Space for all that stuff. Where are you going to put it? A cellar is a fine thing to have; a freezer is a given. You also need storage for the empty jars, the idle tubs and pans and so on.
8. Explosions. Oh yeah. Tomatoes sometimes go bad in the jar, and blow the lids off. Amazingly horrific smell. Other stuff can go bad in the jars too. So far nothing's exploded in the freezer except a bag of frozen grape juice. Lovely frozen purple everywhere.
9. Dishes--cooking makes a LOT of dirty dishes. This morning I froze some broccoli and made a batch of jam. Pans, ladles, strainers, spoon rest, bowls, knives, etc filled the sink completely and overflowed by the time I was finished.You will wash jars until you really are sick of them. A dishwasher is a huge bonus in the summer, but for those of us who opt not to have one, we're the Dishpan Hands Gang.
10. WARNING: Growing and processing your own food can become an Addiction with a capital A. You start thinking about what else you can put up. You scan roadsides and woodlands for berries, nuts and wild fruits. You start reading up on wild greens. You crave your spring tonic of sassafras tea and drive miles to collect morels and ramps.
And finally, beware of Visitors. Not visitors to your kitchen but to your cellar and freezer. Jars of jam and pickles, bags of frozen venison and veggies find their way to cars and trucks routinely. So be prepared to put up enough for your family and for those who are awestruck at your abundance. You will want to give some to them, just so they can experience the pleasure of home-raised, home-processed food. Just watch: next year they'll be planting a garden or getting a few chickens themselves.
Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.