Burnett: Preserving fruit and veggies one way to save money

The grocery bills can really rack up during the winter with the price of produce going through the roof.

The grocery bills can really rack up during the winter with the price of produce going through the roof, but there are ways to soften that financial burden.

Canning, freezing and storing produce either from the garden or purchased from the Farmer’s Market is definitely not a new idea, but more and more households are turning to these methods.

Saving money is not the only reason. We feel good about knowing just where and how our food was grown.

We know it is being preserved at its best time and not picked green so it can travel thousands of miles before ripening.

And most of all it brings out that hunter gatherer instinct we all have as humans.

I suppose that instinct is served to a degree by walking the isles of the supermarket and presenting a bank card to either a person or a machine but once a person opens a jar and tastes the contents of peaches, tomatoes or plums it is just never the same.

I know for a fact that since I was married 38 years ago I have not eaten a store bought can of peaches.

My wife Donna cans prune plums and pears, makes apple sauce and all sorts of jams.

She also freezes corn and for some time dried fruit into fruit leather.

But what we do is small potatoes (pun intended) to others such as my friends Reg and Marge Huebner.

Reg takes food storage to another level with his above ground root cellar under the deck of their Kelowna home.

Racks of giant sweet Spanish onions, sacks of firm potatoes and braids of fabulous garlic are kept nice and cozy at just above freezing all winter long in a well-insulated room that even though he installed a base board heater just in case, he has never had to use it.

As I said earlier, this idea of storing food is definitely not new. When I was growing up,  it was a necessity not only to save money but because a lot of what we can buy today so conveniently at the store was just not available.

In fact “in-season” was the norm when it came to most things.

No way could a person buy strawberries in the middle of the winter and mandarin oranges were a once a year Christmas treat.

I suppose my family was a bit out of the ordinary because we had a farm that produced our own milk, eggs, pork and beef as well as corn, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and tree fruits.

In fact, during the 1930s when times were really tough, my grandfather Arthur would share.

There wasn’t a lot of money but there was always plenty to eat.

As we let go of another year and enter a new one, I encourage everyone to grow a little extra next year and try preserving some produce to enjoy during the winter months.

If you don’t have a garden, then support the Farmer’s Market or one of the many farmgate stands we have in the Okanagan and experience the great feeling of accomplishment and pride from canning, storing or freezing your produce.



Tune in to The Don Burnett Garden Show on AM 1150 News Talk Sports Saturday mornings from 8 to 10 a.m.


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