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Eating Seasonally for December

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Posted on : 9:03 AM | By : Nic | In : , ,

One of the things that many people don't realize when they try to eat local is that they have to eat seasonally.  I have an awesome cookbook by Jamie Oliver called Jamie at Home which is all about how he pulls things from his garden to eat them.  Rather than being organized by food type, it is organized by season and the common food available.  


There are some things I fudge on - I love tropical fruits like avocado, coconut, bananas, and these are so healthy.  But the majority of our food has to be something that is available.  I believe that humans are meant for a limited diet, a repetitious, boring, basic diet that changes according to the seasons.  Traditionally (unless you live in the jungle), people would feast on veggies and fruit all summer, and then in the winter they had the exact opposite - storable foods like squash, potatoes and canned goods.  I think that our body needs that downtime.  

So every month I am going to make a post on seasonal foods. You don't have to use it, because its mostly for myself and helping me to reach a goal of more seasonal eating.  But I'm not going to list foods I really hate - like brussels sprouts!  lol

For December we have all kinds of goodies:
Celery
Chicory
Kale
Leeks
Parsnips
Turnips
Potatoes

Apples
Clementines (or Mandarins)
Passion Fruit
Pear
Satsumas
Tangerines

Geese
Game fowl
Rabbit
Venison

Now if you really want to eat seasonally, and you still wanted to eat things like chicken and beef, you could buy these things in season and store them away.  In fact, that's exactly what you and I should be doing.  Every time something is in season, buy it in bulk and store enough of it or the winter.  So this month for your groceries you would buy only the things on this list, and store the extras appropriately.

So here's how to preserve these things:
Celery: you can keep celery for a while in cold storage, away from turnips, onions and cabbage.  You pull it up by the roots and keep them a little moist and the leaves and stalks dry.  Put a board on top and pile dirt and then straw over that.  Not everyone has a cold storage, so alternatively you can freeze or dry it which means you can only use them in cooking.  Wash them well, chop them up and put them in water to freeze, or spread them in the dehydrator for at least a day to dry them.  Once dry put in an air-tight jar.  Even better, make dried mirepoix - mix dried celery, onions and carrots with dried spices, which you can add to anything.

Chicory (or endive): this can be dried like any other herb.

Kale: you can freeze kale by cleaning them well, steaming them for a few minutes and then popping into an airtight freezer bag.  Or you can dry it to add to soups and other things later.

Leek: these tend to lose a lot of quality so the best way is to put them into a leek soup and then freeze the soup.

Parsnips/turnips: wash, peel, and cut up into little 1 inch cubs. Put in boiling water for 2 minutes (to blanch), then immediately remove and cool them off under cold water.  Easiest way is to have a bowl of ice water handy.  You can use your blanching water up to 5 times.  Then bag them and put in the freezer.  It's important not to overcook them!  Time it exactly.

Potatoes: these last forever in cold storage.

Apples/pears: these need to be canned or dried.  There are so many recipes for this I won't list one.  Drying is also very simple - peel and core and slice them and throw them in water with some lemon juice in it.  Then put in the dehydrator.

Clementines/mandarins/satsumas/tangerines: these need to be canned or made into marmalade.  I am also not going to post one recipe for this as there are many, but you basically peel them and take them all apart and put them in water or a sugar solution.  Then you can water bath can them.

Passion fruit: needs to be made into preserves. 

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