Meet the Members highlights an IthaCan member to find out what they're up to, what they've learned from putting food by and what future plans they have for preserving food at home. We'll be featuring a new member about every month.
IthaCan caught up with member Rachel Firak to find out what she's been up to recently. Rachel is an avid preserver of local food and she works as the New Farmer Training Coordinator at the Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming.
IthaCan: Are you preserving anything now?
Rachel: Yes! As of January, I'm reviving my nuka box (actually a gourd) for preserving vegetables through lacto-fermentation and preserving a crock of bread dough for anytime sourdough baking through outdoor winter temperatures. I also built my first French silo this season- a mini root cellar about 3x3x2 lined with veggies and filled with dry leaves in between them. Update coming in the spring!
IthaCan: Did you have any preserving disasters last season? And what did you learn from them?
Rachel: I was living semi-outdoors last summer and fall, and had left for vacation in late October with a full season's worth of herbs under an overhang. Of course, "Superstorm" Sandy came and went before I had a chance to return, and I found that steady rains, strong winds and dense fog had claimed my offerings. I learned the value of a warm, dry indoor space... and home-sitters!
Those with similar lifestyles might find this interesting: I also tried preserving fruits through drying over a campfire last year. There were lots of "smoked" blueberries in our morning granola before I realized the heat must be coals exclusively before laying on the berries!
IthaCan: What are your plans for the spring?
Rachel: I'm writing a zine about life without a refrigerator and low-energy, low-tech food preservation in 2013! Look for it in 2014. Working title: Off-Frid Living!
Interviewed by Alison Fromme