Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On Freezing Food

I have been getting seeded grapes at the farmer’s market. Maybe I ought to be making wine or jelly or canning the stuff. I am making juice with little water and freezing. When removed from the freezer, I will add water.

I mentioned this to my farmer, (yes, we have farmers in Detroit) who does make and can juice. One reason to can is to save on freezer space, thus electricity, and to put by lots of juice. I don’t do that, just make enough for us.

For years, canning made more sense to me, as there were five of us. Now that we are down to two, it seems good to keep our freezer packed full. (If there is a power outage, steps will have to be taken.)

We as a culture are finally transitioning to home based power sources, solar or wind or some other mode that will not depend on a large grid. The city power grid has seemed immutable. It is not. I’m thinking freezer technology is here to stay. There are many things to do in the fall, canning is not one I prefer.

Another of my farmers tells me about his customer who freezes corn without blanching it and uses it by Thanksgiving. I am trying this. Here is my reasoning: Freezing does not kill enzymes, it slows them. When I put unblanched vegetables in the freezer, I am making an environment that will slow the ripening of the corn. If it is consumed before it gets too ripe (the corn kernels have not turned to carbohydrate) it will add to our well being when we eat it. This theory is contrary to all of the USDA manuals I have read, I am looking forward to uncooked corn at Thanksgiving.

The USDA has made some bad calls, no longer has the credibility with me it once had. To my knowledge, it has not changed food storage protocols since the thirties. Haven’t we gotten any smarter since then?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What Happened to the Three Sisters

About the three sisters garden: ground hog figured out how to open the fencing. I did get a few beans before the havoc, but not corn or squash.

The good news is that a farmer’s market opened downtown and I can get local veg there. I ought to pursue the making of wine and put up a hoop house. Fall is breathing down our necks.

Good stuff (count our blessings: I like to count b during lawn chemical season, as going outside and breathing 2 four d -a form of dioxin- often is too much for my immune system.

-There are many folks growing native plants. This will spread healthy systems around. If you build it they will come, insects, butterflies, maybe even native worms.

-I saw a talk by some folks who removed the vinca from their hillside. They took that vinca (perriwinkle) up in rolls, like carpet. There were trilliums in the ground underneath patiently waiting and the next spring, the trilliums bloomed. They showed a slide of a whole hillside of trillium the likes of which I have not seen except in state parks under climax forests. Too many deer now visit (trillium being a member of the Lilly family, deer like them) that is another story.

-Joe Pye weed is happy with only half day sun, next to the garage. Next year, I will include it in the trimming I do of the asters and mums- I/3 of the stems June 1, July 1, August 1. Trimming this way makes the plantings fuller and not as tall.

- Raised beds and fencing for vegetables, as we have critters.

-I planted grapes and Pears and Apples this year. Green Gage plums came in, though I’m guessing they will have fewer pests with dormant oil spray. I also planted blueberries this year. Clarence, the blueberry farmer at the market, says blueberries need compost more than soil acidity.

-Used the push mower a lot. Only maintenance was the spraying of WD-40 on moving paarts. The blades did not need rebalancing this year.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Is it Fall Already?

Missouri folklore:
On the 25th of July, sow turnips wet or dry.

Middle of July, time to start a fall garden. I knew this, but fancied myself too busy. I’m seed collecting, looking for fall native plants and perennials this year. No hoop house this year either, freezer technology is here to stay.