Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Making food for the winter

I've been thinking a lot about the differences between food culture in Britain and food culture in Canada lately. For all that people make fun of "British food", there are some really positive things about it, especially with the recent emphasis on eating locally. A similar movement exists in Canada, but it doesn't have the same place in the mainstream as it does in Britain. Canadians don't have a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall extolling the virtues of growing your own vegetables, or a Gordon Ramsay raising animals in his own backyard. Is eating locally a trend? Perhaps, but it's a worthwhile one, in my opinion.

Of course, eating locally in Canada--especially in Quebec--can be extremely difficult. While the variety of vegetables available during the winter is rather limited in Britain (leek and potato soup, anyone?), it is at least possible to grow veg during the winter. Not so in Quebec when the earth is frozen and is covered in feet of snow. And yet, people have survived here for a long time and managed to make due during the winters. I want to learn more about this and try to see if and how it is possible to make it through an Eastern Canadian winter without relying on imported food. I imagine that this involves a lot of preserved food and meat.

In any case, I was at the local market with Anna today and I snubbed her decision to buy pears because they were imported from the US. She then told me that I wanted to eat locally, but she didn't see me making preserves. That's not such a bad challenge, and so I bought a half-bushel of Quebec Spartan apples.

Apple sauce is one of the easiest ways to preserve large quantities of apples, and if you store it correctly, it will keep for a long time.

The recipe:


Peel, core, and cut the apples into chunks. Put them into a large pot, add a bit of water and allow the apples to stew until they break down and make a nice, thick sauce. It will look somewhat like this:

When the sauce is about finished, add sugar and cinnamon to taste.

If you're going to preserve the apple sauce, sterilise mason jars by boiling them right side up in a large pot for ten minutes. Scoop the sauce into the sterilised jars ad seal them tightly. I don't know how long the apple sauce will keep like this, but it should be for at least a few months.