When I was young, my parents had a huge garden out in our backyard. The last few weeks of summer and the beginning of the fall were filled with busy days full of picking, preparing, pickling and packing so that we’d have jars upon jars of food ready to grab at a moments notice during the rest of the year. We had pickles, beets, beans, and stuffed banana peppers straight from our own garden, peaches, applesauce, jams and jellies we picked ourselves at Dad’s secret spots, rows and rows of canned tomatoes and a few spaghetti sauces, vegetable soups, and sometimes even sauerkraut. All my life I’ve dreamed of the time when I would have my own garden to supply our food, but we have yet to live in a home that could support that huge provider of such warm childhood memories.
I’ve been making progress none-the-less. Next year, if we still live here at this house, we’re set to participate in one of the local CSA’s, and I’ve begun the slow march towards more sustainable kitchen practices. We’re baking our own bread, we’re buying as much from local farmer’s as we are able, we’re purchasing less overall–therefore wasting less–so as to reduce the amount of trash/CO2 we produce. To that end, when I chop up or peel veggies and herbs, I’ve been holding on to the scraps and at the end of the week making a lovely chicken broth. One of the luxurious allowances to convenience I’ve made is to purchase an organic rotisserie roasted chicken for us once weekly. The kids love it straight off the bone and while they’re gnawing away, I can make a number of other things for me and E to eat after they’re down for the night. After we’re done with our dinner, the bones go into a pot with the veggie scraps, and anything else I feel like throwing in, normally an onion with the skins, or a small bit of orange peel. I bring it to a gentle boil, cover it, set the temp to low, then off to bed we go. In the morning we have a lovely broth waiting to be strained and canned. For a while, the broth went straight to the freezer, but canning it it much more convenient in the end, even if it adds a few steps.
I’m not quite there yet, but we’re making progress to living less wasteful lives… and sometimes, it is a rather tasty endeavor.