Eating fruit and vegetables in season is one of the best elements of warm weather. But if you're like me, you have strong favorites, and would love to eat them year-round.
Unfortunately, for those in cold climates, having blueberries in December — good quality blueberries — is rather arduous, short of traveling to a destination.
But I've been enjoying blueberries in November and December — good quality blueberries. And my travel budget hasn't suffered as a result.
I took a 5-pound box of blueberries, separated them into containers and threw them into the freezer. In July.
I'm not a serial canner. I don't have the jars, nor the patience to turn summertime harvests into wintertime pleasures. These activities are not in my nature, though I appreciate those that do so. I bought a lovely small jar of grape preserves at a farmers market from someone I buy from often. They taste marvelous.
But I like feeling that I'm "cheating" the system somehow by having blueberries in December. They make me feel good. I know at some point I will cross over into apple territory — eating apples throughout the winter.
I like apples, and they are a fine fruit option in the wintertime. But apples don't excite me nearly as much as blueberries.
And quite frankly, blueberries you might be able from some far-off place don't have the same taste, consistency, or anything remotely pleasurable that you would find in local produce. A nearby apple tastes better than a far-away apple.
And if you're like me, and you don't have the canning instinct, other than buying the containers and having room in your freezer, there is no expense of time or money. If anything, the blueberries were cheaper in the summertime than trying to duplicate them in the winter.
Blueberries are just one example. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables that can freeze well.
As important as it is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, when they taste better, you are more likely to eat more of them, and less undesirable foods.
If you are a serial canner, you can consider giving some of your bounty as a gift to someone who can use it. Or as a barter for something you might want. Fresh fruits and vegetables is a joy and they are good for you simply because you are more likely to eat them.
Locavores can be a little obsessive, but their heart is in the right place. Local food tastes better, and makes you more likely to eat that instead of inferior products. But you can do your part, and start buying fresh produce to freeze and maintain until a time when you really need to have that fresh goodness as part of your diet.