It’s Spring. The days are getting warmer and when that happens, my mind starts turning to food preservation. I’ve already done some, I’ve dehydrated Cremini and Portobello mushrooms. But there is more to do and much of my canning is not about single ingredients. Unfortunately, most of the orchards and farmers markets in my area don’t open up until late May, early June. So I still have a few weeks to wait.
But what I can do is plan. I’m a planner. And that means pouring over my canning books and finding the recipes I want to make. For the last few years, I would just put a sticky note on the page of the items I found interesting, but that created issues for me. I would go to the farmers market and find something yummy, like carrots. I would decide to do something with the carrots. So I’d buy them. But I wouldn’t know what else I needed. So after going to the farmers market (about 12 miles from my house), I would go home with my find, figure out the recipe and then have to go to the regular grocery store for the other ingredients. This wasted both my time and also caused me to not always have the best ingredients.
Buying locally is not like going to the grocery store. I can’t figure out what I’m going to make and plan a shopping list. Buying from farmer’s markets or picking up from CSA’s is dependent on what they have and what is fresh and in abundance. (When a fruit or vegetable is in season, its abundant and the price drops which is the best time to can something). Also when preserving, its best to do it as soon as possible to lock in all the nutrients and flavors. So I can’t just figure out what I want to can all the time. It’s totally dependent on what is available.
So this winter, and early spring, I’ve been going through my canning books and typing in the ingredient lists as separate notes into Evernote. Evernote is a note keeper that sits in the cloud. It’s available on my computer, my tablet and my smart phone. Which means that what I type in one device is available on all of them. So as I find recipes, I’m typing in quantities and ingredients. I title it with the main ingredient. So for example, if I find carrots at the farmers market, I know I can make a variety of recipes including: Carrots and Cauliflower Jardinier, Spicy Carrots, Ginger Carrot Slaw or Dilled Carrots. I have the ingredients list for each of them, and depending on what else is at the market, I can choose the best recipe (or recipes) to make that day. I also can stop by the grocery store on my home for any ingredients which were not at the farmer’s market that day.
I’m anticipating that this will be a huge time-saver for me.
If you preserve, what techniques do you use to help you?