I spent the evening in my kitchen preparing food. The children are truly starting to understand now that we we do now: the picking, the cooking, the preserving; will last us into the winter months when so much fresh delicious food is no longer available. Tonight’s venture was tackling the peaches we picked yesterday at Spring Valley Farm in Conowingo, MD. We also picked enough blueberries for one last blueberry cobbler and 1.5 qts of blackberries which we have enjoyed and frozen.
But the peaches, which are now of the yellow freestone variety were ample and sweet right off of the tree. I blanched and cut up 10 for a batch of peach jam that I will make tomorrow and then another 10 for my food dehydrator. I am trying everything in that machine this year just to see how it works. We’ll see the results in 6-16 hours. There is still one more batch of peaches left out to ripen just a bit more before I prepare them to freeze. When preparing peaches the easiest thing is to blanch them for 3-5 minutes in a big pot boiling water with the lid on it. The pick them out with tongs and place them in an ice water bath long enough so that you can handle them. The skins slip off and you can slice and dice to your heart’s content.
Meanwhile, I also threw in a batch of bread from the dough I had waiting in the fridge and cooked the corn on the cob that came in my CSA basket from Sunny Hill Farm this week. When that was all finished I put 6 eggs on the stove top to boil for tomorrow’s lunches. The eggs were part of my weekly dairy order from Kilby Cream in Rising Sun, MD.
Back to the corn, sweet and fresh from the field it is a fantastic summer treat. Truly, you must cook it and eat it right away or it just isn’t the same. I have been getting into the habit of shucking the corn we receive from Sunny Hill, cooking it for 7 min and cutting it from the cob the night that I get it. I then freeze a pound and we eat the remainder. It is an easy way to have veggies prepared and also to be putting some away for the winter. Sweet corn is fantastic and so I say with a blissful sigh…’ah…corn’ and smile.
But then there is the AHHHHHHH! CORN! that makes me want to run screaming the other direction. It is the corn that is sold as a commodity and used in practically every product we use edible or not in our daily lives. That corn is field corn. It is not inherently bad. It is the system and the use that are wrong. I feel very, very strongly about this point so I hope that I do not offend anyone. But I was listening to NPR tonight while driving and the drought and it’s many effects were being discussed. The most heavily affected crop has been field corn. The corn is simply withering away. The news went on to say that without this crop of corn other agriculture is going to be affected price-wise such as beef, pork and poultry because large, corporate farms rely on field corn to feed their livestock. The problem is that these animals were not meant to eat corn. (If you would like to understand this issue better I highly recommend that you read The Omnivore’s Dilemma or watch Fresh or Food, Inc.) Our unhealthy, monstrosity of a food system is based on an unsustainable commodity crop and during this season of drought, all of our eggs are in one basket, so to speak. It makes me sad and I feel helpless to change such a broken system.
But there is an issue that I have been dancing around for a while and I think it is time to take the next step. At home we eat almost entirely locally sourced, grass fed, ethically farmed meat. But I have made an exception when eating out and when eating at other people’s homes. I do not think I can live with two ideals any longer. I am devising a plan and I will share it here next. Stay tuned as I also plan to share how we will manage with this value shift. Until then, “chews” well. 🙂