In every relationship, there comes a point to be brutally honest with one another, and you and I, Dear Reader, have reached that point. There is something that you need to know about me.
I don’t preserve produce from my garden. I don’t can peaches; I don’t pressure cook carrots; I don’t blanch and freeze broccoli, but since I don’t grow broccoli in the first place, this isn’t an issue.
Through the years, my distaste of canning has affected my relationship with others, namely because I avoid the kitchens of my canning friends for three months or so, and I have a hard time not grimacing when someone slips a slimy preserved pear onto my plate.
I don’t like canned food — creating it or eating it — and for much of my adult life I slunk about the edges, hoping that no one would ask me what I was doing with all of the bounty from our garden.
But I slink no more, and if you want to know what we’re doing with the copious amount of food coming from our garden these days, I’ll tell you: we’re eating it. Lettuce in salads; potatoes in soup; chard and kale steamed and tossed with pasta — what we don’t eat goes to the goats, chickens, or compost pile. And while it’s true that in December we won’t have access to green beans floating around in whatever liquid green beans float around in, we’ll eat pumpkins and winter squash, which store — neatly, tidily, and without steam — in the workshop.
I can assure you that, by the time September rolls around, I will have had my fill of zucchini. But that’s okay, because by that time I’ll have several wheelbarrowfuls of the aforementioned pumpkins and squash which will take me through to March, by which time I will be desperate for spinach. At no time do I wander through the pantry, muttering, “I sure would like some green beans now, on toast.”
This is a brave step for me, admitting to the world that I am so appallingly lazy that I don’t delight in standing over a pulsating stove, in July, sloshing food product around, but I do it for those of you still huddling in the closet, reluctant to admit that you don’t like canned prunes either.
It’s okay not to can. The best way to know that you, personally, shouldn’t is if you find yourself asking, “Do I have to can?” Anytime you preface a question with, “Do I have to . . .?” you know that you might want to find an alternative way of doing things.
And I have. We eat seasonally, which means that we are some of the few people I know who consume pumpkin in any form other than pie. Interestingly, we also eat more vegetative manner than many of the people I know who can, because we create entire meals around what is in our garden, as opposed to plopping a spoonful of mushy peas next to the roast beef and mashed potatoes.
Ultimately, it comes down to eating cheaply and eating well, and when you use what you’ve got when you’ve got it, you do both. If you can, and eat what you produce, I’m happy for you, because you like what you do and it’s saving you money. But if you don’t, I’m here for you, assuring you that you’re not a profligate spendthrift who doesn’t use what you’ve been given, you just choose to use it in a different way.
Saving money looks different for different people; the important thing is to find out what works best for you and your family. I can help with this. My book, Live Happily on Less, walks you through the lifestyle changes you can realistically make to live contentedly on what you have. No weird tricks, no extreme coupon clipping, no magic bullets — just a series of 52 easy to digest essays gently leading you to make lasting, impacting changes. $12.99 paperback and $5.99 digital at Amazon.com.
The Artwork in my articles is by Steve Henderson, my Norwegian Artist, and can be found in the following places:
- Steve Henderson Fine Art (original paintings, signed limited edition prints, posters)
- Great Big Canvas (licensed open edition art prints)
- Light in the Box (licensed open edition art prints)
- Sagebrush Fine Art (licensed open edition art posters)
- Amazon.com, AllPosters.com, Art.com (licensed open edition art posters)
Manufacturers and retailers — license Steve’s work through Art Licensing