21 July 2021: Planning to Can

It’s shocking to me how expensive produce is here. In Finland I’d buy a 3-pack of paprika (red bell peppers) for around $3. At the nearest grocery store, Acme, red peppers are $2.98 a piece. Madness! While I can get more reasonably price fruits and vegetables elsewhere, it’s a hump to get to those places. That’s why I’m planning to can.

My original idea was to get some frozen vegetables to supplement things. A handful of mixed veg thrown into some ramen or stir fry. That seems to be a fool’s errand. Foods are branded, in some proprietary microwavable steamer bag (I refuse to own a microwave), or dripping in sauce. I just want some plain frozen peas, damn it!

While it has been pointed out that I can acquire such things at Walmart, I will be damned if I will shop there. It’s bad enough that I’ve had to compromise my ethics and order some things from Amazon, because there were literally no feasible alternatives. Sticking to your principles is hard.

Planning to Can

All of this sidesteps the fact that I do not want to eat prepared food. I know everything in the United States was packed with extra sugar, sodium, and fat. We’re had to resort to some of those items — I’m loathe to even refer to them as food — while I got my kitchen setup.

So I am slowly gathering canning supplies. Ball jars, freezer bags, vinegar and spices. I will make a run to the farmer’s market and load up. Then I’ll cut up vegetables, blanche them, and freeze them. I will pickle things, make jams and salsas, and put them up for use later. I will do my best to preserve as much freshness as I am able. Most importantly, I will know exactly what’s in them.

It seems strange to have to fall back on old-fashioned techniques to combat the horrors of modern “convenience”.


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9 Replies to “21 July 2021: Planning to Can

    1. Canning & freezing is so simple – I don’t understand how people cannot grasp it. I f you can boil or blanche and you have spare jars or freezer containers – that’s pretty much it – we have several jars of lemon curd in the fridge & cupboard plus tomatoes and sauce bagged in our freezer. I guess If you’ve never cooked anything from scratch, it might seem daunting. I like making bottles of lemon cordial in the summer.

      1. I am privileged because I work from home. Even if I take an extra hour every week riding the bus, I don’t lose time commuting and the spoons that eats up. I get that. But what’s important? Getting in a couple of extra hours playing video games? Mindlessly surfing the internet? Binging a show on Netflix or Disney+? Or, I don’t know, feeding yourself healthy food?

        Right now I’m planning what I want to can and put up. Pickled vegetables and jams, for sure. Homemade pasta/pizza sauce. Some mixed frozen veggies, as mentioned. Possibly some fermented things like kimchee, sauerkraut, and pickles. Then I’ll know what all I need to buy. After I get the canning kit, the jars, the freezer bags and containers, vinegar, herbs, spices, and so on, then I’ll plan a couple of days to cook and go buy the produce.

  1. Here in Australia, there is a huge movement to ban single use plastics and replace traditional plastics with biodegradable ones. I don’t know if anything like that is happening in the U.S.

    1. There’s no Federal-level effort to ban single-use plastics. A few states and some cities have taken steps toward the issue, but without a national-level mandate those won’t have a lot of impact. Some states have actually enacted laws that make it illegal to ban single-use plastics, as a preemptive strike against cities.

      As with most issues in the United States, there’s a huge disinformation campaign backed by offending corporations and Republican politicians. Fake think-tanks that are actually lobbying groups cite made-up statistics and misinterpreted studies. A lot put the blame solely on China. One claims the Pacific garbage patch is mostly discarded fishing nets.

      1. “Some states have actually enacted laws that make it illegal to ban single-use plastics” Wow! How absurd is that. Are they planning to resurrect Trump’s climate policy? “the first rule of climate change is you don’t talk about climate change, you don’t even suggest it might exist”

      2. Banning single-use plastics is the new Sharia Law. Wait, Critical Race Theory is the new Sharia Law. But it’s all *gasp* TEH SOCIALISM so they’re ag’in it!

  2. The longer I am away the stranger America appears to me. I’ve forgotten the absurdities of American ‘convenience’ consumption. At least they still have plenty of farmer’s markets. But the fact that it can cost several times more for fresh meat & veg than to feed your family takeout – that’s horribly wrong.

    1. There’s a great farmer’s market with good prices reasonably close. We can catch a bus 2 blocks from home, get off, and walk a block. That bus run ever 20 minutes. But it’s a 30 minute bus ride. The car culture thing is bizarre, too, even though it existed before we left.

      In addition to pre-packaged food being cheap and readily available, and fresh food being harder to find and treated like a luxury item, there’s the issue of plastic packaging. So much plastic! So much of it not recyclable! It’s disgusting how much waste there is.

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