Friday, May 1, 2009
Time Crunching - To Can or To Freeze
Depletion and Abundance, one of the most influential books I've read in a long time, talked about energy savings, being more resourceful, saving the environment and remembering how our grandparents lived. Remember how they used scraps of old clothes to make rugs, rags, and aprons? They had HUGE gardens -- and they canned EVERYTHING? That's the part I really wanted to get into this year - canning. But, I've already experienced the time crunch -- there simply isn't enough of it when you work a full-time job out of the home, unlike our grandmothers who spent most of their time at home. Right now the asparagus is coming in hot and heavy and there's nothing I'd like to do more than buy a couple pounds and can a couple quarts of it for this winter. (My patch doesn't produce enough to use my own). Time to can? It would take at least 3 hours from start to finish which includes cleaning it, cutting it to size, heating up, digging out the jars and sterilizing them, sterilizing the lids/rings, packing produce in the jars, and then hot water bath the jars. Oh, and cleaning everything up and putting it away again. And now the part that prompted this post - freezing that same bunch of asparagus. Time to freeze? About 1/2 hr. BUT, then there's the freezer part of which I wanted to try and get away from AND the plastic freezer bags which also are not exactly environmentally friendly, but super-duper convenient. Energy conservation makes more sense by NOT using a freezer, but when it comes down to time saved vs energy used, the time saved seems more valuable to us working stiffs. Maybe I can ditch the freezer after retirement? Maybe I can find a solar-powered freezer? (the Amish do it!). All in all, I love to can, and there's no doubt I'll do the tomatoes later this year (but they too can be frozen! hmm....), but time is of the essence.