I've been thinking about getting a dehydrator, and sure, it would be great for making my own jerky, but I find my thoughts going to other places like, "I could dry tomatoes in August and blueberries in July and apricots in June..." etc.
But is eating seasonally more important? Does it really make sense to eat a blueberry in February?
Since going Paleo, I've gotten pretty tight with my seasonality, making a few exceptions in the winter, as things do get bleak around here (Oregon), especially because I have a toddler at home. An example of a compromise is waiting for kiwis until they come from California, not New Zealand.
So do you can/dehydrate/freeze your seasonal bounty only to consume it in some other season? Does anyone have an opinion on this?
I imagine that our ancestors did plenty of food preservation. Obviously they weren't canning, but surely they were drying meat, smoking meat and freezing meat when they hunted in winter weather. Roots could easily be stored for later use, and berries and mushrooms dried. This would have been essential for those living in cold climates to survive times that hunting was scarce. So if we take that a step or several further with our modern appliances, I think we can still say that we eat and live by the seasons.
We purchased an upright freezer a few years back to take advantage of the savings that come along with purchasing a whole or half cow/pig/lamb, and definitely fill it up with cherries and blueberries in summer. We grow a lot of winter squash to eat throughout the winter. I bought raw olives on my drive back from California and taught myself how to cure them. We had access to a whole orchard full of unsprayed pears this past summer and I spent weeks drying them(in our Excalibur), making pear sauce, pear butter, and fermented pear chutney. Pulling a jar of summer fruits out of the pantry in February makes me happy...summer is my favorite time of year, and that jar represents the abundance of that season.
I second everything Rogue said. We're not reenacting! Eating canned and frozen organic/local food that is minimally processed is more optimal than eating just what is in season or easily stored, paleo-style, in cold climates-- potatoes, grains, corn, little to no fresh vegetables or fruits. Yikes. Like Rogue, I take great pleasure in being able to open up a jar of organic, local apple butter in January or February and know that it's got no added sugars or preservatives, no chemicals, etc.
I put up because otherwise I have little in the way of veggies to eat over the winter. Our CSA is full-diet and take-what-you-need, which means I ended up with about 100 lbs of tomatoes this summer that I canned for the winter. (I have about five quarts left that I'm hoarding.) Fermenting, drying, and freezing are my preference because as I understand it nutrients are preserved a little better. But, I'm not in any way opposed to canning. Ensuring good food supply through the winter is totally 'paleo' in my opinion. (It's not about reenactment, though.) I think if you do well on fruit it's not a huge problem to eat it during the winter. I also wouldn't shy away from making sweet potato fries in July from some I froze in January. (Because I ended up with a similar situation to the tomatoes with sweet potatoes.)
I compromise on buying some fruit in the winter, though, because I'm okay with a few out of season things for flavor and variety. Really, I'm down to turnips, meat, eggs, sweet potatoes, onions, and cabbage for most meals now. Buying bananas and some citrus doesn't bother me a bit!
Anyway, I say go for it, personally! I also like the feeling that I have a contingency plan if any of the winter crops fail due to bad weather/pests/etc.
I used to can and freeze produce from the garden for winter eating when we stayed at home in the winter. Now that we travel to Mexico for the winter I just make low sugar and/or sugar-free jam to take to the kids on the way down.
I also used to freeze beans, peas, and assorted other vegetables and combine tomatoes/celery/onion/green peppers as a spaghetti base. These were all frozen in ziploc bags. Nothing used to make me happier than having a winter meal with everything on the plate from our hobby farm.
This was back in the milk cow days when I also made butter and cheese and we had our own grass fed beef and free range poultry.
Now we drive to Mexico where there is fresh produce for the winter. Selection is limited but it is fresh- we mainly eat spinach/swisschard, carrots, zucchini, cayote, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. Quilt's latest wisdom is that we should eliminate the fresh fruit that is available- that is hard to do.
If it is not Paleo at least it is ancestral.
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