design-inspired urban farming

Pickling and Canning

Food preservation and canning began in the 1800s, during the Napoleonic Wars, as a method to create long-lasting food supplies to feed the large French armies during various military campaigns.  A french confectioner, Nicolas Appert, discovered that food cooked inside a container remained unspoiled, so long as the seal remained in tact.

Since then, canning and food preservation has fallen in and out of fashion throughout the decades.  In the mid-1900s, canned goods were seen as a status symbol among middle class European households. However in most cases, canning has typically been used as a means to extend the shelf-life of food and has been a symbol of frugality. Canned goods sales tend to rise during economic hard times.

Whether it be the on-set of an economic downturn and a recession or the proverbial swing of the cultural pendulum, canning, pickling and old-world methods of food preservation have come back around as an emerging trend.  Many organizations have started offering courses, certifications and workshops bringing back the art of preserving our harvests.

And while Sow Swell focuses mostly in the realms of urban farming and design, we see canning and artisanal practices as part and parel with the lifestyle.  Even with our Crop Swaps, events and food sharing, we still often have too much harvest to eat fresh.  A perfect way to extend the life of your harvest is to start canning, pickling or using  other forms of food preservation.  Sure, produce waste can be pitched into the compost pile, but how much better would it be to get every last bite out of your farm?

Our last post, we featured the process of making ricotta cheese at the Institute of Domestic Technology.  Today, we’ll feature the pickling and canning we did this weekend during our Foodcrafting workshop.  We’ll be featuring two pickle recipes we prepared and some photos.  Please check out our Dill Pickle recipe post and our Chipotle Pickled Carrots recipe.

Sow, what do you think?

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