When local food means opening the freezer


The idea of "eating local" is often connected with images of farmer’s market shopping. And indeed, the market is a lovely (and photogenic) experience, and we in my household are devoted marketgoers. But for us, at this time of year, locavorism is much more about eating stuff that was grown months ago. We’ve been very pleased with the results of our efforts last summer toward preservation.

This is last night’s dinner: pasta and beans made with tomatoes from our garden which we diced up and froze (we also canned a LOT, but I’m clearing out the freezer right now). It also includes garlic we grew, currently hanging from the kitchen wall.

Granted, if this were a few months ago (and/or if we’d had more success with our winter garden), a lot more local ingredients might be in that meal: salad greens, carrots, onions, parsley…). But still, it’s satisfying to feed ourselves from the fruits of last summer’s labors—our own and local farmers’. The grocery situation gets a lot less anxiety-ridden when you have in your possession bags of sweet potatoes, cans of tomatoes and beets, frozen cabbage soup and pesto, and a litter of butternut and spaghetti squash (the perfect self-preservers; no labor required).

Here’s our recipe for that dinner: In a pressure cooker, saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Add a quart or so of diced tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups water, and 3/4 cup dried cannellini beans. Season with salt and pepper. Pressure cook for 45 minutes. (Or use a saucepan and canned beans, and simmer 20-30 minutes.) Cook pasta separately and add near the end along with chopped fresh parsley. Garnish with more parsley and grated parmesan.

What are you other locavores eating through this chilly winter? Anybody have a preserved somethin’-or-other they’re really tickled about?