Comments on: What Food Storage Can and Can’t Do http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/11/what-food-storage-can-and-cant-do/ Sharon Astyk's Ruminations on an Ambiguous Future Wed, 24 Jun 2009 11:17:31 +0000 #?v=2.3.2 By: Sharon http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/11/what-food-storage-can-and-cant-do/#comment-3538 Sharon Tue, 11 Mar 2008 20:02:22 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/11/what-food-storage-can-and-cant-do/#comment-3538 Ah, well, it was worth a try, no ;-)? Ah, well, it was worth a try, no ;-)?

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By: Idaho Locavore http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/11/what-food-storage-can-and-cant-do/#comment-3530 Idaho Locavore Tue, 11 Mar 2008 18:37:51 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/11/what-food-storage-can-and-cant-do/#comment-3530 "but even if you do find local things there, generally speaking it would be far better for the local food economy if you bought that honey direct from local beekeepers, and paid them more directly." LOL. Well, ctually, I *did* call the honey folks and ask to do business with them directly, and they are the ones that recommended I buy their honey from Sam's instead. Weird, huh? My guess is they prefer to mostly sell in large quantities and the overhead for selling some things directly to individuals is more than they want to deal with. I do buy our trout from the farm, or at least I did the last time I bought it. But that's not an option for everyone who doesn't live within a short drive of the trout folks. That's why I mentioned it was an option at some Costcos. “but even if you do find local things there, generally speaking it would be far better for the local food economy if you bought that honey direct from local beekeepers, and paid them more directly.”

LOL. Well, ctually, I *did* call the honey folks and ask to do business with them directly, and they are the ones that recommended I buy their honey from Sam’s instead. Weird, huh? My guess is they prefer to mostly sell in large quantities and the overhead for selling some things directly to individuals is more than they want to deal with.

I do buy our trout from the farm, or at least I did the last time I bought it. But that’s not an option for everyone who doesn’t live within a short drive of the trout folks. That’s why I mentioned it was an option at some Costcos.

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By: Leila http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/11/what-food-storage-can-and-cant-do/#comment-3528 Leila Tue, 11 Mar 2008 18:18:15 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/11/what-food-storage-can-and-cant-do/#comment-3528 1) SF Chronicle featured an article yesterday about a single mother in the East Bay who feeds herself and baby organic food on $300 a month. She has a garden (put in for her by a local gardening org. that serves low-income city residents), she shops wisely, she Dumpster dives. She also goes to the local Grocery Outlet. Now I normally avoid the place because it seems to be all about processed junk that I don't want. But she says the one in Berkeley has quality food if you look. So I am going to drop by next time I'm in the neighborhood and give it a shot. Here's the article: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2008/03/10/moneytales.DTL&type=news written by a local urban farmer/blogger. Should be of interest to those of you concerned with coping in the city. 2) Eating from storage - I'll pimp my own blog a little - I've been mentioning here that Lebanese (and probably other Levantine Arabs) keep food stored as part of their tradition. The other day I posted a roundup of my Arabic food recipes that use stored foods: http://bedouina.typepad.com/doves_eye/2008/03/eating-well-as.html (Post titled "Eating well as the markets go to h***") I am proud to say that my blog's red lentil soup post is the internet's most popular for that dish. It's Claudia Roden's recipe. Plug "red lentil soup" into google and see what you get. For an obscure Middle East politics blog that's an accomplishment. Also this is a dish that can be made completely from stored food although you will want to substitute vinegar if you don't have lemons or limes. We could all learn a little something from our ancestors on food storage. I venture that even if you don't live in a Mediterranean climate as I do, you might enjoy cooking Middle Eastern and other Mediterranean dishes from your stored foods. Having an herb patch with parsley and mint would help. Yes having access to fresh lemons helps, too, but if you don't, use vinegar and/or sumac, a souring agent used in the MIddle East before the advent of the lemon from India. I'll be posting another roundup of Middle Eastern recipes from food storage in a bit. Thank you, Sharon, for this series. 1) SF Chronicle featured an article yesterday about a single mother in the East Bay who feeds herself and baby organic food on $300 a month. She has a garden (put in for her by a local gardening org. that serves low-income city residents), she shops wisely, she Dumpster dives.

She also goes to the local Grocery Outlet. Now I normally avoid the place because it seems to be all about processed junk that I don’t want. But she says the one in Berkeley has quality food if you look. So I am going to drop by next time I’m in the neighborhood and give it a shot.

Here’s the article:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2008/03/10/moneytales.DTL&type=news

written by a local urban farmer/blogger. Should be of interest to those of you concerned with coping in the city.

2) Eating from storage - I’ll pimp my own blog a little - I’ve been mentioning here that Lebanese (and probably other Levantine Arabs) keep food stored as part of their tradition. The other day I posted a roundup of my Arabic food recipes that use stored foods:

http://bedouina.typepad.com/doves_eye/2008/03/eating-well-as.html

(Post titled “Eating well as the markets go to h***”)

I am proud to say that my blog’s red lentil soup post is the internet’s most popular for that dish. It’s Claudia Roden’s recipe. Plug “red lentil soup” into google and see what you get. For an obscure Middle East politics blog that’s an accomplishment. Also this is a dish that can be made completely from stored food although you will want to substitute vinegar if you don’t have lemons or limes.

We could all learn a little something from our ancestors on food storage. I venture that even if you don’t live in a Mediterranean climate as I do, you might enjoy cooking Middle Eastern and other Mediterranean dishes from your stored foods. Having an herb patch with parsley and mint would help. Yes having access to fresh lemons helps, too, but if you don’t, use vinegar and/or sumac, a souring agent used in the MIddle East before the advent of the lemon from India.

I’ll be posting another roundup of Middle Eastern recipes from food storage in a bit.

Thank you, Sharon, for this series.

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By: Sharon http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/11/what-food-storage-can-and-cant-do/#comment-3525 Sharon Tue, 11 Mar 2008 17:53:55 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/11/what-food-storage-can-and-cant-do/#comment-3525 I've never seen anything local at BJs (what we've got here) - nothing. So that's one of those YMMV things (we have shared a membership at times with our neighbors) - but even if you do find local things there, generally speaking it would be far better for the local food economy if you bought that honey direct from local beekeepers, and paid them more directly. That said, I do think that they are good sources for some things that aren't going to be available to use locally - but I wouldn't use them as a source for local food unless no other options are available, because generally speaking, bulk places like that don't pay their sources very well. And yes, I think that powdered milk and eggs do fall in the "icky western diet" category - that is, as far as I'm aware there are no sources of either that don't come from factory farmed animals. That's not to say that, as I said, some people might not want to include them in their diets, but buying these things does mean supporting the factory farmed industrial economy in most cases. At best, you might find organic industrial sources. There's nothing wrong with wanting to use these things - but they are an environmentally and socially inferior choice, I think. We can get our protein in other ways. My claim is not that no one should ever use them, but that we should think very seriously about how and when, and that adapting our diets is probably better than trying to mimic our existing diets in storage. Sharon I’ve never seen anything local at BJs (what we’ve got here) - nothing. So that’s one of those YMMV things (we have shared a membership at times with our neighbors) - but even if you do find local things there, generally speaking it would be far better for the local food economy if you bought that honey direct from local beekeepers, and paid them more directly. That said, I do think that they are good sources for some things that aren’t going to be available to use locally - but I wouldn’t use them as a source for local food unless no other options are available, because generally speaking, bulk places like that don’t pay their sources very well.

And yes, I think that powdered milk and eggs do fall in the “icky western diet” category - that is, as far as I’m aware there are no sources of either that don’t come from factory farmed animals. That’s not to say that, as I said, some people might not want to include them in their diets, but buying these things does mean supporting the factory farmed industrial economy in most cases. At best, you might find organic industrial sources.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to use these things - but they are an environmentally and socially inferior choice, I think. We can get our protein in other ways. My claim is not that no one should ever use them, but that we should think very seriously about how and when, and that adapting our diets is probably better than trying to mimic our existing diets in storage.

Sharon

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By: Idaho Locavore http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/11/what-food-storage-can-and-cant-do/#comment-3524 Idaho Locavore Tue, 11 Mar 2008 17:25:22 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/11/what-food-storage-can-and-cant-do/#comment-3524 Great essay! I agree with your reasoning on what food storage can and cannot do. I look on it as insurance, and as a way to make what I CAN get stretch further and do more. I do take exception to a couple of points mentioned, though... 1. Costco and Sam's sometimes have local staples, so don't completely write them off. For instance, the Costco nearest here sells locally farmed trout and our local Sam's is where I often get our locally grown honey in large jugs. Yes, most of their stuff is so un-green and un-local that it's not even funny, but if you or a family member already have a membership it's worth taking some time to discover what they have that perhaps IS local. Plus, most of us with pets are probably not going to find any local sources of dry pet food, so when you buy it you might as well buy it in bulk and sometimes these places can be a source for doing that. 2. I, too, plan to keep buying locally produced milk and eggs as long and as often as I can. But I don't think dried eggs and milk deserve to be placed mostly in the "icky western diet" and "don't store well" categories. Powdered eggs and milk are very good protein sources and menu extenders. They do store well when packaged properly in cans with oxygen absorbers (~10 years.) You can make some cheeses ("yogurt cheese," ricotta and mozzarella, for instance) yogurt, and kefir from powdered milk. In addition, some powdered eggs are really not so bad in a pinch - there is a brand called Ova-Easy that can actually be scrambled once rehydrated. The other, less expensive brands, are good for baking and for adding a protein boost to homemade breads, pancakes, smoothie drinks, puddings and custards (the dried milk is also useful there.) So there is value, imo, to keeping some on hand. Are they as good as local fresh? Hell, no. I'd certainly much rather have a home flock of cluckers and a herd of mini nigerians in the back yard, but that's not possible for us right now. So I hope these items will help us weather shortages of the local stuff we already buy. Great essay! I agree with your reasoning on what food storage can and cannot do. I look on it as insurance, and as a way to make what I CAN get stretch further and do more. I do take exception to a couple of points mentioned, though…

1. Costco and Sam’s sometimes have local staples, so don’t completely write them off. For instance, the Costco nearest here sells locally farmed trout and our local Sam’s is where I often get our locally grown honey in large jugs. Yes, most of their stuff is so un-green and un-local that it’s not even funny, but if you or a family member already have a membership it’s worth taking some time to discover what they have that perhaps IS local. Plus, most of us with pets are probably not going to find any local sources of dry pet food, so when you buy it you might as well buy it in bulk and sometimes these places can be a source for doing that.

2. I, too, plan to keep buying locally produced milk and eggs as long and as often as I can. But I don’t think dried eggs and milk deserve to be placed mostly in the “icky western diet” and “don’t store well” categories. Powdered eggs and milk are very good protein sources and menu extenders. They do store well when packaged properly in cans with oxygen absorbers (~10 years.) You can make some cheeses (”yogurt cheese,” ricotta and mozzarella, for instance) yogurt, and kefir from powdered milk. In addition, some powdered eggs are really not so bad in a pinch - there is a brand called Ova-Easy that can actually be scrambled once rehydrated. The other, less expensive brands, are good for baking and for adding a protein boost to homemade breads, pancakes, smoothie drinks, puddings and custards (the dried milk is also useful there.) So there is value, imo, to keeping some on hand. Are they as good as local fresh? Hell, no. I’d certainly much rather have a home flock of cluckers and a herd of mini nigerians in the back yard, but that’s not possible for us right now. So I hope these items will help us weather shortages of the local stuff we already buy.

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