Today I took out of the freezer two jars. One is labeled "mixed fruit 7/14.” Last July I had some peaches and berries that were about to go bad, and we were going away for the weekend. I cooked them with a little sugar into sauce and froze it. This week I'll eat it on oatmeal for breakfast. The other jar is labeled "green salsa 9/14." At the end of September we pulled our tomato plants and I made a pureed green tomato salsa with onions, cilantro, and aji dulce peppers. We'll have that tomorrow night on big bowls of beans.
I preserve food for a number of reasons. Sometimes, like with the fruit that was about to go bad or the green tomatoes or the over-abundance of beets in my farm share, I can save something from the trash or the compost bin to be enjoyed another day. It's thrifty, and an act of gratitude for all the hard work that went into growing those fruits and tomatoes and beets. Every summer I freeze some fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and kale, because I like the idea of eating locally grown foods all year-round. I make my own pickles and some fruit sauces, because the store-bought version tend to be very expensive and/or full of ingredients I'd rather not eat.
I'm reading Tamar Adler's An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace. This is what she has to say about preserving food -
"What you preserve is the cheeriest memento mori. It is a way to say and mean: of everything that passes, this is what I choose to keep. It is a clear reminder, there for the tasting, of where and when and how you have lived."
Last March, when I began to feel that I really couldn't handle one more arctic blast, I found a bag of strawberries in the bottom of my chest freezer. I made strawberry sauce and shared it with my neighbors, explaining that last summer had come to remind us that the next summer was on its way.