What I learned when I started preserving food at home

I grew up growing food at home. My very first job was in a greenhouse, growing a variety of edible and decorative plants. I spent my summers in our families extra large vegetable garden, growing our own produce. Carrots and squash fresh from the garden were common sights through the summer and fall.

It wasn’t until I became an adult that I tried my hand at preserving some of this summer bounty. The first thing I learned is that it’s not actually that hard. For some reason they’re always been this sort of mystery around making your own jams and jellies. Some kind of wisdom that you had to have passed down from generation to generation to actually implement.

But then one summer we ended up with a bumper crop of tomatoes – more tomatoes than I have ever seen in one small raised bed garden in my life. There was simply no way to eat them before they spoiled, and the neighbors already had their hands full of tomatoes. Luckily we live in a world where the knowledge of the world is at your fingertips and usually in your pocket. It was a simple search to find a few processes that didn’t seem too daunting, and the idea of being just that much more self sufficient was very exciting. Turns out that once you get some practice in, preserving herbs, veggies and fruit for future use is simple and not that mysterious.

The second thing I learned while turning my tomatoes into sauces was that there’s also a measure of satisfaction in taking something you grew and turning it into something even more edible and delish.

There’s something magical about living in this simple and sustainable mindset where nothing is wasted, everything is prepared slowly and thoughtfully. In a constantly connected and incredibly fast paced world, taking that time to blanch, peel, slice, season and jar those tomatoes was an exercise in mindfulness.

This embracing of a slower and sustainable way of living changed the overall feel of our supper times. A simple practice that levelled up our self sufficiency skills. Knowing just how that food got to your plate is pretty dang neat.