The scents of autumn always evoke the most powerful emotions for me. The smell of a roaring wood-burning stove floating in the air, the damp earth and the freshness of the autumn dew, and my favorite: the aroma of tomatoes mixed and cooked in a delicious sauce.
Fall food preservation rituals are events with roots stretching back thousands of years. They are a precious time for families to come together and focus on a singular task and achieve a unified goal. Bitter politics and distracting cell phones have no place in the kitchen as the blender roars and the pot boils like a witch’s cauldron. This time is a crossroads, a reflection of the past summer and a forward-looking look at what the future holds. No matter what comes next in 2022, you and your family are at least a little better prepared. A little marinara does a lot of good.
Is this your first year in northern Idaho? Maybe you’re looking to pick up on an old family tradition, or just looking for a way to get kids off their electronics to connect like humans again. You might have saved foods your entire life and just need a whole new recipe. Fortunately, whatever situation you find yourself in, the library has a resource for you. A brief search of the library catalog found over 100 books on food preservation, and 81 on canning in particular. The library also has at least 12 DVDs on canned food, if you’d rather watch and listen instead of flipping through pages while juggling boiling water and fragile glass.
Plus, butternut squash mash is much easier to clean up on a DVD than a book.
Keeping your own food has more benefits than connecting with your family. It can lower your grocery bill, improve your health by reducing the amount of sodium you consume in store-bought foods, and even expose you to new tastes and flavors you’ve never experienced before.
Even if you don’t have all the supplies you need to start canning your own food this year, now is a great time to start learning more. Knowledge requires no refrigeration, has no expiration date, and as long as you borrow an item from the library, it doesn’t take up space on your shelf.
Brenden Bobby can be reached at the East Bonner County Library, 1407 Cedar St., Sandpoint, by phone at 208-263-6930, or by email at [email protected]