Wednesday, November 12, 2008

trendy preserves

Living in an urban area, with tall buildings instead of growing fields, it stands out to me when farmers' markets roll into town. In various areas of my city I now have the opportunity to meander down a row of local vendors selling the fruits of their labor. My personal experiences and observations tell me there is a definite trend for seeking out local, sustainable, and healthier foods (or at least foods that seem more positive than the prepackaged stuff at the grocery stores). I love it! As a member of Slow Food USA, I thoroughly enjoy observing new facets of the current food movement, from Michael Pollan writings to local Food Trust initiatives.

One trend I have definitely noticed on the net is the return to home canning—putting food up for the winter. It might be that people are budgeting, trying to reduce their carbon footprints, or simply that they have fallen in love with their local farmer(s). Or perhaps the abundance of information and communication on the internet is driving more individuals to become do-it-yourself-canners. There are numerous interesting reads out there with some home preservation info:
NY Times Topic on Local Food, Preserving Your Bounty, and Preserve.

I heard that canned food consumption does increase during economic downturns, so I am wondering if home economics have paired with slow foodie trends to usher in a new generation of home preservers. Hopefully if this does happen, people will preserve with care to ensure their safety. I hope that people heat their projects correctly to reduce the chances of a clostridium botulinum problem. It would be interesting to see if an increase in home canning correlates with an increase in C. bot. occurrences (hopefully not!). Could the return to home canning be a large enough movement to have an effect on the public health level?

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