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Extending the Season: Sustainability in Action

  1. Analyze the five photos located in the “Assignment Photos” page and comment on what the connection might be to this course and/or what impact these items can have on a food service operation. Critically think your way past “strawberries can be used to make jam” and provide well thought out answers.  Address each photo separately.

Daikon Radish’s are a great item to put in salads and even to use for an extra little bit of bite in seasonal vegetables as a side. The Japanese use them year round to provide both fresh flavor and crispness when it is in season. However when it is out of season you will see a large amount of pickled Daikon being served alongside rice and meat dishes alike because of how well it pickles. Being able to buy a large amount of Daikon when it is in season and using it fresh while you can but then pickling or canning it for use later in the year allows you to keep the same basic menu item but you can change its flavor profile with each season.

Strawberries are something that you can and should use year round because they freeze very well but can also be made into puree/ jams/jellies that will add that extra hint of flavor to any breakfast or even deserts. Once again buying them at the peak of season and then utilizing them while they are fresh and storing what you can for later use in the rest of the year is a great way to keep the flavor of strawberries present year round. If you do just freeze them then you can pull out the frozen strawberries and make smoothies and other fruit drinks that will be great as a morning beverage.

Cheese in general is something that is so easy to make and if stored correctly can last a long time. Feta, ricotta, and others like them can be made in house the day or even weeks before and used as needed. Cheese is a great way to utilize milk that is about to go out of date and is so much cheaper to use in all your recipes if it is made in house instead of the cost of buying it from a provider. The act of preserving is a great way to put many items to use in different forms later in the year. I know it is not the same but think about cured ham, or jerky. Even sausages area great example of preserving part of a pig or cow for later use that might not get used before it goes out of date. Nasturtium’s I have never actually used myself but from doing the reading on them I can see how they would be a very nice addition to salads, or could be dried out and used as a dry herb later in the year when they may not be in season. I have used other flowers and grown wild plants before and they always bring with them a nice floral smell that really helps round out the senses. I hope that we have a chance to use these items as I think they could be very tasty and I’m curious if they taste anything like mustard greens. I am a big fan of being able to rely on locally foraged food items that bring a bit impact of flavor to a dish. Wildcrafting for wild plants and mushrooms is a lot of fun and they taste so much better than the farm grown ones, but then again so does wild game.

Mushrooms are an item that I don’t have any problem at all putting on my menu year round. I love mushrooms and even if they are dried you can make a great “stick” or even broth from the reconstitution liquid.  Mushrooms provide such a wide range of flavors and will take on the flavors that they are cooked with. Each mushroom itself has such a wide range of flavor that no two types of mushrooms will taste alike. Like the Nasturtium’s in the last picture I really do think that wild grown foraged mushrooms taste better then the farm grown ones. If you are not a fan of drying mushrooms then I have heard and read that the can be preserved with canning and pickling. I think this would be an interesting thing to try out as well.

  1. Respond to the following quote,” utilization of product is the difference between an experienced chef and an inexperienced chef”.

I completely agree with this quote, and this is because if you can utilize all or at least 90% of the product you are going to see a decrease in your cost of goods and an increase in your sales. If you are throwing away product that can be utilized in another way but if you just don’t think about that you are throwing money down the drain. An experience Chef knows that every penny in a restaurant needs to be squeezed to the point that it bleeds.

  1. In this day and age why go to the trouble of canning or preserving foods when most products are available at the grocery store (the readings will help but you may need to reflect/research further)?

While yes it may be more convenient to stop by the local store and grab jelly jams or other canned products, most of them will not be as good or as healthy as you can make at home yourself. However leading all the way back to when Napoleon was looking for a way to preserve food for his army, canned or preserved foods is a great way to keep a supply of food in your pantry that you can use whenever you need it.  In the article they actually make a really great point:

“People are also looking for thrifty, crafty ways to eat well. In a time of high food prices, job losses and food safety scares, home canning is booming, with sales of equipment already up almost 50 percent over last year, according to the Jarden company, which makes both Ball and Kerr canning supplies.”

People are looking for a way to save money, and canning and preserving our own food can be a great way to do this. The great thing that most people don’t know about is that you don’t just have to make jams, or jellies, but you can preserver or can almost anything. You can make your own jerky or even cheese very easily. While it may not be as convenient as going to the store preserving and canning are a great way to save money in the long run as you can use and have your canned or perverted foods year round.

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One Comment on “Extending the Season: Sustainability in Action”

  1. Tori May 15, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    I have been looking forward to you taking this class for a while! I want to learn more about canning and preserving things. I made and canned jam a few years ago, but that’s as far as my experience goes. Class starts today! 😀

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