Monday, September 23, 2013

“The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart.”


I get depressed, sometimes. Reading about the industrial diet, the more I understand the fragility and corruption of the international food system digging into the structural problems of food production, all of these things can become overwhelming. I write with the desire to change things, but sometimes it feels like all my posts look the same:
The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.The system's broken. We're all gonna die.
I know that urban farms are springing up across North America, that Joel Salatin's leading the charge to more sustainable farming out east, Milkwood Permaculture is doing the same sort of thing down south, and hundreds of people are making moves towards a better tomorrow. There is hope. Really.
So a couple of days back I was thinking about what it says at the top of the page: Discussion of farm policy, food security, and food. With recipes. And as I walked the dog out in the park near where I'm currently living, I noticed that the feral rose bushes were covered in hips. My head was ping-ponging between the Depression of  the 1930s and the current state of affairs, and I had been considering differences in how people ate, then and now. So I came back a couple of hours later with both the dog and a jug and picked the rose hips at the top of the page.
They were in great shape:

As you can see, the hips had ripened and maximized their flesh (that little 0.3 mm thick layer between the skin and the seed package). I pulled the flower ends off each hip, tossed the hips in a pot, added a bit of water, and boiled them until they popped. After the hips had cooked down to mush, I strained the seeds and skins out of the pot, and began to boil the remainder down.
Once everything had begun to evaporate, I added a couple of cups of sugar, on my way to jam. the, wondering if I had any pectin in the house, I looked out the kitchen window, and spotted these:


There's the remains of a quince tree slowly being killed by a holly in the front yard. There was a fairly big (well, relatively big, for this tree, under these conditions) fruit visible from the window. When I went out, I found a small handful of the fruit.
Quince has an extensive history of use, but the one I was interested in comes from the fruit's high pectin content. I took the largest fruit, diced it up small, and tossed it into the jelly.
As the quince cooked in, I continued to intensify the jam. I had a few of those little tiny jam jars you get in hotels, so I cleaned them out, made sure the lids fit. And used them, and a larger two cup container, to hold the jam. I used the small ones because I know that I'm going to be asked for a sample of the rose hip jam, and these make perfect testers.
The jam is strongly scented, hasn't properly set (which is pretty normal, as far as I can tell. I've never seen/tasted rose hip jam that had fully set), and tastes somewhere between really great and inedible. It also has a slightly mealy texture.
I've made this before--the last time was more than twenty years back. This time, of the three ingredients, two were grown within 100 metres of here. If I had a beehive, this could have been the most local jam I've ever made. Probably still is.
This sort of thing helps. I love cooking, and making something like this jam reminds me that the earth would actually rather have us here. We serve an ecological purpose. We just have to remember that, and try to fit ourselves into the world, rather than demanding the world adapt to what we want. Now I just need to make some sourdough bread with local wheat flour.

1 comment:

  1. New Diet Taps into Pioneering Idea to Help Dieters Lose 20 Pounds within Just 21 Days!

    ReplyDelete