Food Preserving: Reviving a Holiday Tradition

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Food processing evokes in most people’s minds memories of their grandmothers or stories they have heard about other peoples grandmothers or perhaps a neighbour. It is an old-fashioned thing to do - almost a lost art. Something no one considers anymore nor has time for. True for many peoples life styles. However, like all things it is a matter of priorities.

I am all for trying something at least once, especially a technique so crucial and typical of the past and found in almost all cultures. It is another opportunity to have control over the quality of food you nourish yourself with. Less chemicals, less salt, less or no sugar and just the way you like it. 

What about reviving the practice of inviting a neighbour or friend to help out and sharing the fruits of such love and labour? No time? What about one evening less of television, or a family project? There is more to benefit here than a preserved product. One preserves memories as well.

Years ago in Frankfurt, I was inspired by a girlfriend who because of working long hours and being exhausted by the time she arrived home, never seemed to be able to come up with healthy, delicious dinners for her self. I decided to try to make up a few seasoning pastes to help her (and anyone else) out of the dilemma of good food, interesting and perhaps exotic, but quickly prepared meals.

The three pastes I developed, Red Coriander, a spicy seasoning with coriander seeds and paprika, Ginger Paste, suitable for seasoning with an Asian touch or baking, and the Brown Onion Paste for soups, seasoning sauces and so much more quickly became favourites that I also incorporated into some of my own recipes. The Brown Onion Paste can also be used to make an onion soup. The basis for all of these pastes is potato, acting as a carrier as well as natural thickener.

From Erika, a retired neighbour of mine, I learned a simple way of preserving my pastes, jams and marmalades which works very well for me. I have used my products after two years of storage and they were still perfect, if not better having matured so long.

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