Brown Bag Monday: Increase your Sustainability through Food Preservation

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The photo above is of the last batch of Kiwi fruit from Ariza Farm in Orland. We picked it up at the Sacramento Farmer’s Market directly from Mike Ariza. When Mike mentioned that this was the last kiwi for the season, I instantly wondered if I could freeze or can Kiwi. Funny how big a difference a week or two makes.

Our interview with Kara from Smokey Ridge Charcuterie, gave me a new appreciation for the importance of food preservation. I certainly had no idea you could become a Master Food Preserver. This piqued my interest.

In addition I have been reading Farm City, by Novella Carpenter, and after that Featured Food Friday post I read a brief mention of “The Encyclopedia of Country Living” by Carla Emery in Farm City. Scanning Amazon’s description for Country Living, I zeroed in on “growing and preserving foods”. That sounded pretty interesting to me so I picked up a copy. After downloading the 40th anniversary of a book that was first conceived in 1969, I used my Kindle’s goto feature to jump to chapter 7 “Food Preservation”.

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Carla begins this chapter by introducing the reader to the idea of 365 independence days. What she means is that with careful planning, growing, milking, slaughtering and preserving, you can manage to be completely food self sufficient from your farm. Well I don’t have a farm, and even though I eat meat, I don’t plan on slaughtering anything running around my backyard anytime soon. However, the idea of making local seasonal foods last longer really spoke to me.

Essentially there are only 6 basic methods of preserving food.They are:

  1. freezing
  2. canning
  3. drying
  4. pickling
  5. sugaring
  6. root cellaring

Freezing, canning, pickling, drying and sugaring (jellies and jams) I was at least familiar with, but I hadn’t heard of root cellaring! I guess since I have never met a Californian with a cellar I have a legitimate excuse.

Back to my end of season kiwis. I wanted to can the kiwis, but had to defer that venture due to my current project; raised garden beds (stay tuned).

So I turned to the next option I had thought of at Mike’s Farmer’s market stand, freezing. I Googled “freezing Kiwi’s” and for me the very first hit is from the California Kiwifruit Commission. It certainly looked like you could freeze Kiwi, so I read the more detailed directions on freezing food in general from Urban Living. In reality the process is pretty basic with only a couple key steps. Here’s how I did it.

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How to Freeze Kiwi

  1. Start with already ripe kiwi fruit
  2. Peel your kiwi and trim away any bad spots
  3. Slice the kiwi into even sections, about a quarter inch thick
  4. Spread the kiwi evenly onto a cookie sheet
  5. Squeeze lemon juice onto the kiwi slices
  6. Sprinkle the kiwi slices with sugar
  7. Cover the cookie sheet with plastic wrap or aluminum foil
  8. Place in the freezer and leave until frozen
  9. Remove the cookie sheet and bag your frozen kiwi slices (be quick)
  10. Return the bagged individually frozen kiwi slices to the freezer and you’re done

This was a very small experiment (even smaller since we’d already eaten half the kiwi we’d picked up as dessert) but regardless I’m still looking forward to pulling my pieces out of the freezer late this summer to see if I can still enjoy local California kiwi out of season! 

What food preservation techniques do you or your family practice? Have you had any homesteaders in your families lineage that have managed 365 Independence Days?

Lolo’s Dad

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One thought on “Brown Bag Monday: Increase your Sustainability through Food Preservation

  1. Those kiwis look amazing. They are one of my favorites. I could eat kiwis all day. It’ll be interesting to see if they still taste fresh when you unfreeze them. We use lemon juice on apples to keep them from browning when we pack them for lunch, but that’s only for one day. I LOL’ed at this line in your post “Well I don’t have a farm, and even though I eat meat, I don’t plan on slaughtering anything running around my backyard anytime soon.”

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