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Preserving Summer’s Abundance in Small Batches

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Often when we think of preserving the abundance of summer, we think of canning bushels of green beans or peaches all in one weekend.  However, I maintain that the bulk of food preservation efforts are done in little batches over the entire summer.  Think of it as preservng summer’s abundance put up in small batches over the long haul.  It adds up and quickly too.

Preserving summer's abudance in small batches.

It starts with something as simple as a pickling cucumbers coming ripe just a dozen or so at a time.  Those get pickled or fermented in small batches of just 3 or 4 pints.  Repeat as often as necessary and you might find that you have more than a dozen jars of pickles before the end of summer.

Preserving summer's abudance in small batches

It could be something as simple as the handful of berries that ripen daily.  In the beginning you might be eating them as they come in but eventually you fall behind their non-stop abundance and need to make jam or freeze them for winter smoothies.  One little bit at a time and again before you know it those shelves are filling up.

Preserving summer's abudance in small batches It’s the handful of herbs cut back every now and then and hung to dry that supplies months of winter tea drinking and delicious homemade soup eating.

It’s not necessarily hundreds of pounds done in one exhausting session but rather bits of time invested in rejuvenating, creative fashion that fill our larders.  It’s the capturing of summer’s abundance in these small, slow batches that add up and greatly so without the energy zapping, all-out sessions of bushels at a time.  There’s a place for that kind of preservation too, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that in my experience more happens in small batches than most folks realize.  

What kind of summer abundance are you preserving in small batches?

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Tuesday 16th of July 2013

I've been freezing beans and snap peas one or two quart bags at a time and making pickles here and there as produce becomes ready. Freezing pesto. Drying herbs. Until it's peach and tomato time, when I go for big batches, that's pretty much how I roll. I was hoping to get a big batch of blueberries picked to freeze when I was at my mother's last week (much less expensive in her area than near Boston) but that didn't happen so now I'm waiting for the heat wave to break to go picking.


Tuesday 16th of July 2013

Robin Mather touches on this idea as well in her book "The Feast Nearby: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally," which I really enjoyed and would recommend if anyone's looking for a good read. Since she's on a tight budget she is not able to acquire bushels of produce to preserve all at once, so she gets a little extra each week to put by, which all adds up to a full pantry and freezer at the end of the season. I like this idea, as it's a little less overwhelming to contemplate with two little kids underfoot. More often than not, though, our preserving tends to be of the marathon variety, as our neighbor opens up his tomato field for gleaning or something like that. When preserving things from our garden, though, small batches are the way to go for sure.