For all my whining about the lack of fresh produce and local food, I am paying the price now. It's not sprinkling beans, tomatoes and potatoes, we've got a right good downpour going on right now. Which leads me to yet another dilemma - how to preserve and store all of this food. I have been freezing as much as I can, but like Heather, my little chest freezer is filling up quickly.
I decided, based on a comment from Green Bean during my berry crisis, to scout out a dehydrator. I looked high and I looked low. I visited three different thrift stores in my local area, no dice. I responded to two ads on Craigslist - neither of which had the courtesy to either reply back or just take the dumb ad down off the site. I was reading Causabon's Book and Sharon had a great review of dehydrators, just my luck! She had a great recommendation for a solar one which isn't quite in my time or money budget at the moment. And, I really liked her idea of an Excaliber, but again, not in my price range.
Then I decided to cave and visit a big box retailer - Target. I needed to pick up an prescription, so I thought if I can find a decent one in my price range, I image it will be worth it's weight in gold. Imagining all of the delicious dried fruits and veggies I would make and preserve with my new purchase, I set out for Target with high hopes.
Those hopes were dashed, rather quickly I must say. Up and down the aisles I went looking for the display of food preservation items. I saw them online, so they must be here I think to myself. I pass a cotton candy maker. I pass a sno cone machine. I pass a crepe maker. I pass an egg and toaster oven?!?!? Not sure what that was. Sandwich squisher, smoothie maker, bread maker. What in the hell is going on here? I just want a dehydrator and don't tell me that if you have room on the shelves for a freakin' cotton candy maker, there isn't room for food preservation items.
Not a single dehydrator in the store. Not a single canner. I did find a Food Saver, which would be great if I had space left in my freezer. And, of course, if it wasn't $100. So, we ended up eating ALL of the strawberries with the exception of a couple squished, moldy ones. Which wasn't all bad, we had strawberry shakes, pancakes and heaps of fresh cut ones for breakfast.
Now that strawberry season has passed - for the second time - I don't have an immediate, pressing need for a dehydrator. I am still on the hunt for a good, cheap one before cherry season unless I can find a neighbor as nice as Green Bean and I can borrow one. That is, if my neighbor might actually have purchased one instead of a sno cone machine.
Which makes me wonder... What will our country do if we are faced with a true food crisis? Will families all over town be breaking out the cotton candy maker to feed their families or opening bags of dried cherries and popping open jars of beans? Or will they be consulting Chile to find out where the closest food bank or soup kitchen might be? It worries me, really, where our priorities about food are in this country - sno cones or dehydrated strawberries anyone?
Chile's series of posts on hunger not only made me reflect on how lucky I am to be able to choose healthy and nutritious foods on a regular basis for my family, but also how that all could change with simple crisis or stock market crash. Am I prepared? Not well enough I'm afraid. Now, who wants to lend me their dehydrator?
3 days ago