Skip to content
9.5 °Cforecast >
Cloudy

Distracted Dining: Get​ ​distracted​ ​by​ ​the​ ​real​ ​taste​ ​of​ ​local​ly ​grown

In​ ​this​ ​column,​ ​Nancy​ ​gives​ ​some​ ​advice​ ​on​ ​preserving​ ​and​ ​storing​ ​fresh​ ​food​ ​to​ ​enjoy all​ ​year
0
column_revie_2017-1

Let’s​ ​face​ ​it. ​If​ ​you​ ​eat​ ​at​ ​all,​ ​you​ ​know​ ​there​ ​is​ ​a​ ​difference​ ​between​ ​dishes​ ​prepared from​ ​fresh​ ​versus​ ​frozen​ ​ingredients.​ There’s​ ​nothing​ ​worse​ ​than​ ​dining​ ​out​ ​and​ ​being served​ ​something​ ​obscurely​ ​resembling​ ​what​ ​you​ ​ordered​ ​and​ ​chewing​ ​like​ ​an​ ​overdone piece​ ​of​ ​plastic.​ ​I​ ​can​ ​think​ ​of​ ​several​ ​places​ ​where​ ​the​ ​dessert​ ​menu​ ​sounds​ ​delectable enough​ ​to​ ​order​ ​from​ ​and​ ​disappointment​ ​ensues​ ​when​ ​the​ ​frozen,​ ​mass​ ​produced dessert​ ​square​ ​arrives. ​BLECH.

Local​ ​food​ ​– ​local​ ​anything​ ​is​ ​trending​ ​right​ ​now. There​ ​are​ ​no​ ​less​ ​than​ ​20​ ​restaurants listed​ ​on​ ​The​ ​Guelph​ ​Wellington​ ​Local​ ​Food​ ​Map​ ​that​ ​feature​ ​food​ ​grown​ ​in​ ​Guelph​ ​and Wellington​ ​County. Scanning​ ​the​ ​list, ​​I​ ​believe​ ​there​ ​are​ ​a​ ​couple​ ​that​ ​no​ ​longer​ ​exist, but​ ​I’m​ ​sure​ ​more​ ​are​ ​constantly​ ​being​ ​added.

The​ ​map​ ​is​ ​part​ ​of​ ​a​ ​branding​ ​initiative​ ​called​ ​Taste​ ​Real. ​It’s​ ​been​ ​around​ ​since​ ​2011 and​ ​was “developed​ ​to​ ​support​ ​local​ ​businesses, ​farms​ ​and​ ​producers​ ​who​ ​are passionate​ ​about​ ​the​ ​way​ ​local​ ​food​ ​is​ ​grown,​ ​prepared,​ ​presented​ ​and​ ​enjoyed,​ ​and how​ ​real​ ​it​ ​tastes!”​ ​(from​ ​their​ ​website​).

Taste​ ​Real​ ​is​ ​a​ ​brilliant​ ​marketing​ ​name. When​ ​I​ ​say​ ​those​ ​words, ​​I​ ​actually​ ​start​ ​to salivate​ ​as​ ​visions​ ​of​ ​local​ ​sugar-plums​ ​dance​ ​in​ ​my​ ​head!

Now​ ​is​ ​the​ ​time​ ​of​ ​year​ ​when​ ​many​ ​shop​ ​the​ ​markets​ ​and​ ​local​ ​fruit​ ​and​ ​vegetable stands​ ​to​ ​stock-up​ ​on​ ​all​ ​things​ ​fresh​ ​and​ ​local. While​ ​dining​ ​out​ ​with​ ​friends​ ​this​ ​week​ ​at a​ ​wonderful​ ​local​ ​fresh-food​ ​joint, ​we​ ​were​ ​discussing​ ​who​ ​bought​ ​what​ ​for​ ​canning​ ​and preserving​ ​this​ ​year. ​ ​​

Bushels​ ​of​ ​tomatoes​ ​and​ ​peppers​ ​topped​ ​the​ ​list. ​A​ ​couple​ ​of​ ​us did​ ​not​ ​contribute​ ​much​ ​to​ ​the​ ​canning​ ​conversation, ​but​ ​I’m​ ​hopeful​ ​for​ ​some​ ​awesome local​ ​preserved​ ​treats​ ​this​ ​Christmas!

Growing​ ​up​ ​on​ ​a​ ​dairy​ ​farm​ ​with​ ​a​ ​one​ ​acre​ ​home​ ​garden,  ​I​ ​know​ ​a​ ​little​ ​about​ ​the​ ​local, preserving​ ​process. ​There’s​ ​not​ ​much​ ​that​ ​beats​ ​the​ ​feeling​ ​of​ ​accomplishment​ ​when you​ ​hear​ ​those​ ​red​ ​pepper​ ​jelly​ ​lids​ ​pop. Way​ ​back​ ​when​ ​I​ ​was​ ​a​ ​kid, ​​there​ ​was​ ​no​ ​such thing​ ​as​ ​red​ ​pepper​ ​jelly. We​ ​planted, ​​ploughed, ​​picked​ ​and​ ​preserved​ ​anything​ ​and everything​ ​for​ ​day​-to-day​ ​consumption. ​​There​ ​was​ ​no​ ​thought​ ​to​ ​creativity​ ​or​ ​the potential​ ​presentation​ ​options​ ​when​ ​served. ​Red​ ​peppers​ ​were​ ​red​ ​peppers; ​​picked; cleaned​ ​and​ ​frozen​ ​as​ ​is​ ​or​ ​added​ ​to​ ​the​ ​chili​ ​sauce​ ​or​ ​stewed​ ​tomatoes​ ​for​ ​canning. Jelly​ ​was​ ​jelly​ ​made​ ​with​ ​fruit​ ​and​ ​we​ ​didn’t​ ​make​ ​it​ ​because​ ​it​ ​was​ ​quicker​ ​to​ ​preserve jam.

We​ ​also​ ​had​ ​a​ ​cool, ​​damp​ ​basement​ ​where​ ​a​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​crops​ ​were​ ​stored. We​ ​enjoyed the​ ​taste​ ​of​ ​summer​ ​well​ ​into​ ​the​ ​winter. ​Many​ ​homes​ ​still​ ​have​ ​an​ ​appropriate​ ​cool cellar​ ​space​ ​to​ ​store​ ​various​ ​produce.

A​ ​cold​ ​and​ ​damp​ ​basement​ ​storage​ ​space​ ​is​ ​32​ ​to​ ​40​ ​F​ ​with​ ​90​ ​to​ ​95​ ​per cent​ ​humidity. If​ ​you​ ​have​ ​space​ ​like​ ​that, ​start​ ​buying​ ​local​ ​and​ ​store​ ​for​ ​later. ​What​ ​can​ ​you​ ​buy?

Apples​ ​– ​tart​ ​keep​ ​better​ ​than​ ​sweet. ​Look​ ​for​ ​unblemished​ ​apples; ​wrap​ ​them individually​ ​in​ ​newspaper​ ​and​ ​keep​ ​them​ ​in​ ​cardboard​ ​boxes​ ​or​ ​wooden​ ​apple​ ​crates. ​If that​ ​sounds​ ​too​ ​much​ ​like​ ​work, ​buy​ ​a​ ​bushel​ ​of​ ​apples​ ​and​ ​keep​ ​them​ ​on​ ​your​ ​back porch​ ​–​ ​we​ ​had​ ​ours​ ​at​ ​the​ ​farm​ ​all​ ​year.

Most​ ​produce​ ​is​ ​best​ ​stored​ ​in​ ​wooden​ ​boxes​ ​with​ ​all​ ​their​ ​skin​ ​and​ ​partial​ ​roots attached. ​It​ ​helps​ ​if​ ​they​ ​have​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​of​ ​space​ ​around​ ​them, ​​so​ ​try​ ​not​ ​to​ ​let​ ​them​ ​touch. Don’t​ ​bother​ ​cleaning​ ​before​ ​storing​ ​-​ ​you​ ​can​ ​do​ ​that​ ​later. ​You’ll​ ​have​ ​to​ ​experiment​ ​a bit​ ​to​ ​see​ ​what​ ​works​ ​in​ ​your​ ​storage​ ​area.

Look​ ​for​ ​beets; ​​carrots; ​​parsnips; ​ ​squash; ​​turnip. You​ ​might​ ​detect​ ​some​ ​funky​ ​smells and​ ​depending​ ​on​ ​conditions, ​​certain​ ​varieties​ ​of​ ​vegetables​ ​may​ ​not​ ​keep​ ​for​ ​long. ​Still, having​ ​something​ ​fresh​ ​in​ ​November​ ​is​ ​pretty​ ​cool.

I​ ​would​ ​highly​ ​recommend​ ​when​ ​you’re​ ​contemplating​ ​buying​ ​fresh​ ​for​ ​storage​ ​talk​ ​to​ ​the producer​ ​you’re​ ​buying​ ​from. ​They​ ​are​ ​the​ ​experts​ ​and​ ​can​ ​give​ ​you​ ​some​ ​great​ ​tips​ ​and tricks​ ​for​ ​optimum​ ​fresh.

We​ ​are​ ​so​ ​blessed​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​city​ ​surrounded​ ​by​ ​vast​ ​and​ ​varied​ ​agricultural​ ​land​ ​and where​ ​the​ ​university​ ​is​ ​known​ ​world-wide​ ​for​ ​their​ ​agricultural​ ​prowess. ​Let​ ​yourself​ ​be distracted​ ​this​ ​season​ ​with​ ​the​ ​wonderful​ ​adventure​ ​of​ ​buying​ ​and​ ​preserving​ ​local.

Nancy​ ​Revie​ ​is​ ​a​ ​Guelph​ ​author, ​motivational​ ​speaker, ​fitness​ ​instructor​ ​and​ ​entertainer. Visit​ ​Nancy​ ​at​​ ​www.nancyrevie.com​.​ ​Her​ ​column​ ​appears​ ​every​ ​other​ ​week.




Comments