Recently it was the anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake, where sadly more than 180 people lost their lives. New Zealand is vulnerable to earthquakes so we all need to be able to look after ourselves until help arrives. It may take some time to get to us, especially if we live rurally. Civil Defence has already intimated that they will no longer be able to help everybody in the event of a serious emergency. It may not be an earthquake. It may be an EMP or a flood or one of us may lose our source of income.
To be self reliant means having the ability to do things and make decisions by yourself, without needing other people to help you. Part of this is being food secure – having food on hand when the supermarket has none! It’s having food that you can eat when the power is off.
Part of what we are about is preserving, and until now, we’ve sold you our preserves, but now it is time to teach you how to make them for yourselves. For ourselves, we preserve fruit and vegetables, and meat. Fruit, we preserve into jam and jars of poached fruit, for desserts and breakfasts. We also freeze fruit, but if the power goes off then we’re vulnerable. For vegetables we mainly freeze. We do preserve corn, potatoes, pumpkin, kumara, mushrooms, tomatoes and carrots in jars, under pressure but green vegetables are still frozen. Meat must either be frozen or preserved under pressure. We grow beans for drying and these too are preserved under pressure.
This means that dinner can be ready in the length of time it takes to empty the jar contents into a pot and heat, whether we have power or not. We have a wood burner, but if we didn’t we could just eat the contents of the jar cold. We could also heat the food up in our trusty billy over an open fire, should the need arise.
If you have food, then you are more likely to be resilient in the face of a major crisis. We can help you to be more resilient by having a store of food that just requires heating. We can teach you how to preserve under pressure, and to preserve your garden’s harvest, or if you don’t have a garden, to preserve seasonally grown local food. Buying seasonally grown local food means that you would take advantage of low prices and low carbon miles on the food.
Our tomatoes have finally decided that they can bear fruit and we are now picking enough to be able to make tomato sauce. Here is our recipe.