The people who shop at Pantry Paratus and the people who interact with us through Facebook and email are often very different from one another. There are self-described hippies and conservatives (and even people like me who get accused of both quite often). There are Christians, Atheists, Pagans and other faith representations. We have vegans, traditional foodists (bring on the bone broth!), paleo, and conventional-food lovers who are exploring what it might mean to make a change. There is the pro-wheat crowd and the gluten-free one. There are city-dwellers, homesteaders, farmers, and busy suburban moms just trying to abate food allergies or illness….the differences abound.
I am a traditionalist in most things, including food; I rarely jump on a bandwagon for the newest healthy thing out there, because most of it is bunk. But then, in our modern age, many of us are still discovering the traditional foods that other people groups have been eating for centuries. Such is the case with chia seeds. This nutty, delicious seed spiked in popularity about a year or so ago and is now falling into the shadows of the latest-coolness; but I do not consider it a “bandwagon” at all—rather, we were all a bit late to the party and shouldn’t make an exit too soon.
Food is my business. Not just food—I am not a chef; I can’t make my tiramisu presentable or my own puff pastry dough from scratch—but our (Wilson & my own) passion is in teaching others the importance of knowing where food comes from and how to preserve it for future use.
Maybe you’ve thought some of these:
The problem is bigger than me.
I don’t want to know.
But it tastes so good.
I don’t have time.
I don’t know how.
If you have (and I have), then I would like for you to consider four areas of food ethics. These four things will totally change the way to see–and taste–what’s on your plate.
You can pickle nearly anything following the same basic steps in this article. Really. My family doesn’t really care for pickled carrots, but I absolutely adore pickled garlic, onion blooms, and radishes. And of course, there is always sauerkraut too! If you are interested in pickling eggs, please read this article.
When I ferment anything, I no longer use the large “crock” method. Perhaps that is because I have never owned a real fermenting crock but have tried other hacks such as food grade buckets. I much prefer fermenting in very small batches and so I stick with mason jars. This is purely experiential opinion, but you’re welcome to it:
A lot of homesteaders like to use diatomaceous earth to controls pests in their poultry flocks, because it is an economical and all-natural option for pest control that also has multiple other uses. I recently saw a Facebook debate about this, someone saying that this is actually unhealthy for the birds. Is it?
Pickles are personal. Since pickled (or fermented) veggies are so easy to make at home, I can get creative and make them just as I like them! In fact, if you want to get the great probiotic benefits of a true fermented vegetable and avoid unnecessary food coloring and preservatives, you have no choice but to make them at home. Cutting out Yellow #5 and #6 is what finally led me to make my own cucumber dills, and if I occasionally eat a store-bought one at a picnic, I’m taken aback at how slimy and flavorless they seem to me now.
Those of us in the homesteading/natural/crunchy/hippie/country-life crowd can be a rather ironic bunch.
We buy our wool sweaters at the thrift store, then wear it patched for a few more years before finally turning them into dryer balls to use with our homemade detergents that we created with our three closest friends out of bulk-buy ingredients!
We talk a lot about kitchen “self-sufficiency” but I think we all know that there is no such thing, honestly, since I cannot produce and preserve 100% of my spices, produce, and meats. I want to make some clarifications as to our philosophy and what we are attempting to inspire in you. Self-sufficiency is not referring to the mountainside prepper with 12 children and concertina wire.
Let’s start this geeky food science article with a serene photo of Greece. Continue reading