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?


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