Eating local in the winter has always been an enigma to me. Where do you find local produce during the New England winter? I really let snow, harsh temperatures and a lack of understanding come between my family and the tastiest local foods.
But earlier this summer, I had an epiphany — it’s not about finding local food, it’s about preparing to have local food all year. It take more effort, more foresight and more work to eat locally all year … but it’s so worth it.
That’s why I was happy thrilled to buy a big crate of tomatoes at the farmer’s market this weekend. They weren’t the prettiest fruits, but they were fresh, local and ready to be processed. I spent the weekend, peeling, seeding, processing and cooking the tomatoes into a garden marinara and tomato paste using recipes from Preserving Summer’s Bounty: A Quick and Easy Guide to Freezing, Canning, and Preserving, and Drying What You Grow. I bought this book several years ago when I first developed an interest in canning. At the time, I didn’t really like the broadness of it and I ended up buying another book. However, I’ve grown to love it. The recipes are reliable and you can find a little of everything in it. Who knew I would eventually want to can more than just jam?
Anyway, back to the tomatoes.
Twelve half-pints of marinara and four cups of paste later, we are set for the next couple of months — on pasta, at least. But these are joining the Roasted Herbed Carrots and frozen strawberries, as well as the four half-pints of strawberry jam just waiting to be eaten. I have also roasted a lot of tomatoes.
It hasn’t been a perfect haul. We will still need other veggies to help us make it through the dreary doldrums of winter, but when it starts to get to be too much, I need only toss some roasted tomatoes from the freezer with a little olive oil and pasta to feel refreshed.
Do you do any putting up for winter?