More Than Just Preserving

I do so love being able to open the fridge door to grab a container of something I’ve made. It’s especially helpful to experience that feeling when the awful dark clouds start descending, knowing I can do something good and useful pushes back at the darkness, holding it at bay for a teensy while.

Cucumber Pickles are something I try to have on hand almost all the time. I can eat them straight from the bottle, or add to them to pretty much anything savoury. I really like them added to sushi, but I usually cut the cucumber into slices for some reason, and they don’t look as elegant as they could. Lately I’ve been cutting them into batons instead. It’s working nicely. I have to do it by hand instead of using my super duper slicing machine, but there’s less clean up, so win win. And this time I added some spices to the pickling liquid. I use a large tea ball for the spices, so I can immerse them in the pickling liquid and remove them when infused. So yummy!

In the past I would have had quite massive cooking sessions making jams, marmalades, pickles and relishes, especially when I lived in Queensland’s salad bowl, and later when I owned an orchard and sold at the roadside stall. I miss the citrus trees, the grapes, the geese, and the peacocks. I also miss what should have been. That was a long time ago and a whole lot of water has flowed under that bridge. Still, those experiences are the basis on which my current knowledge has been built.

I don’t undertake such massive cooking sessions these days, I wouldn’t hold up to the physical demands, nor do I have anyone to give the results to. Instead when produce is plentiful and thus, usually inexpensive, I will purchase a couple of kilos of something I enjoy both making and eating for preserving. I only make an amount I know will be able to be used. To guard against spoilage in the increasing heat, that’s not going to get any better any time soon, I acquired a small refrigerator so I don’t have to worry about it. It might seem like an indulgence, and it sort of is, however, the whole of the situation is so, so much greater than the sum of it’s parts.

There’s the choosing a product to work with, the choosing of a recipe to use, the ordering of the produce, the arrival, the preparation of it, the making of it, and the eating of it. There is added enjoyment in being able to use that product out of season, or for weeks and months after the initial undertaking. The enjoyment, the sense of fulfilment, these aspects are truly priceless when one lives day in day out with depression. The wee storage fridge means that feeling of delight will recur many, many times more.

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