Seed Saving: Make it part of your food literacy resolution

I'm in the early stage of my graduate thesis project and completely nerded out over the topic of seed saving. More specifically: Seed saving and what it means for local agricultural, cultural and environmental resiliency. Yup, it's an enormous topic but it has become one that is of increasing importance and prominence in my life as a grower and food eater. I'm interested in exploring the seed-to-seed life cycle of farming and the rich networks of plants, breeders and growers involved in the process. Of course, my proposed project is a bit more complex than I'm suggesting, but rather than bore you with the details, here's a piece about Seed Savers Exchange from Iowa Public Television to give you a taste of the subject:

Also, are you a seed saver? Are you a seed saver who lives in Connecticut or (southern) New England? If you can answer one or both of these questions with "yes," comment below and tell me about your experience!

Headline Harvest: 2012 wrap-ups; fiscal cliff reviews; fish, fruit and climate change

Ah yes - a new year, a new bounty of food and farm news just for you! Time to settle in, drink a hot beverage and peruse the latest headlines:

2012: A review...
In fiscal cliff/farm policy news...
In climate news...
In GMO news...
In hopeful news...
And, because I can...

Getting on the canning bandwagon

Blueberry jam
I finally had a day off to do, well, nothing on Sunday, but for people who know me, "nothing" doesn't exist in my world. So, I canned for a few hours in the morning instead. What I made: Herbed pickles, blueberry jam and more caramelized onion jam (more on this recipe later). Not as enthused as I am? I've written about canning (and my little problem with mason jars) before. Canning, pickling and overall preserving of food is such an important skill to learn. And, I only started putting food up a few years ago, by just watching my friends and reading...a lot. If you put the time aside now by freezing, drying and preserving, you can save lots of money, unnecessary trips to the store later on and make some magical gifts for friends. Also, produce is amazing right now, so why not make the most of it?

And, there's no better way to read up on canning than on a rainy afternoon. Food preserving seemed to have skipped our parents' generations and is now cool again with us youngsters...and a lot of hipsters. There have been countless articles, blogs and books written specifically about the canning revival, but here's some of my favorite resources to help you on your canning quest:
  • Put 'Em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton: See my book review from February.
  • Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissof: I was a little suspect about this book at first. It was a little too kitschy for me and, on first glance, thought it was trying a little to hard. But, it's now one of my go-to preserving guides. Krissof has organized recipes by season, with beautiful photos, helpful commentary and concise instructions. Even if you're not planning to can, this book provides many alternatives to get the most out of your ingredients and stretch food life, including homemade yogurt. 
  • Canvolution + Canning Across America**
  • Preserved and Pickled
  • Food in JarsNow I can get my daily fix of mason jars. Drool...
A pretty array of fresh fruit and preserves from Rachel of Hounds in the Kitchen.
(via Food in Jars)
**And, if you're really inspired/are a super nerd, participate in Ball and Canning Across America's National Can-It-Forward Day! Throughout the day, there will be canning parties throughout the country (you can also start your own, if you're so inclined), demos and streaming of canning demonstrations and preserving instructions. Consider also being a part of Can-a-Rama:

Next Sunday marks the kick-off to Canning Across America’s third Can-a-Rama, a week of home canning parties and seasonal preserving nationwide. With the growing season underway in most parts of the country, we hope you’ll join us at the canning kettle once again for a simultaneous show of cans around the country from August 14th - 20th.
My last attempt to persuade you to can: It's really not difficult or scary! Follow directions on existing recipes, talk to friends about what you want to make, and get preserving. Really ripe, delicious and plentiful right now: Peaches, blueberries, watermelon, onions, early tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini...I could go on. Just can!