Thursday, August 16, 2012

Preservatives and Seed Savers

When I was at the Farmer's Market a while back I bought some peppers. When I made my purchase, the grower threw in a free selection of all the other types of peppers she grew. One was a small red chili cayenne type. When I used it I really liked the combination of hot, spicy, and a little fruity. I wished that I had grown some of those this year.

Seed Savers Pepper Seed Packets
When I went on an outing in the Capitol City, my friend and I shopped at one the fancy organic stores there. I looked at their seed rack and found these two types. The freebie peppers the grower gave me were much smaller than these, but I hope they will have a similar flavor. These seeds are from Seed Savers Exchange. This organization has been around a while and was formed to protect the diversity of foods and naturally grown products by promoting, saving, and selling open pollinated and heirloom seeds. They are an organization you can join, it doesn't cost much for a membership, and that money is used to preserve and grow the seed stock. If you haven't read up on their mission, it is interesting and they have done a great job of raising awareness of the need to protect our seed diversity.

These packets have a paragraph on the back that tells the history of the particular type. One came from South America and the other from Italy via Canada then to Troy, New York. Peppers are pretty interesting. There are LOTS of different kinds and they look different and are used for many different dishes. I will save these seeds for next year, probably not enough time for this year, but I wish there was. Peppers seem to grow really slowly in our garden for some reason.

Hormel "No Preservative" Sandwich Meats
I was reading up on the seeds while I was eating my breakfast. I had a Muenster-Pepper Omelet with fresh tomatoes and my own sausage creation. Lately I have been reading and seeing a lot of info on the negative effects of preservatives, especially in meats. It seems to be linked into the inflammatory response that is somehow linked to arthritis and Alzheimer's among other things (Please note, I am not a doctor or a licensed anything). Anyway, the bottom line is that I really don't like the taste of preservatives in meat. I am reasonably careful with my food, and have never had any food poisoning incidents so I am choosing to explore the preservative-free meat products that are starting to appear in stores. Hormel has packaged sandwich meats in a little brown box that I like, I think one of the other lunch meat companies has a line too. I have even been finding preservative-free bacon. And then, the Do It Yourself bug bit and I decided to make my own breakfast sausage when I couldn't find my favorite brand.

DIY Breakfast Sausage Patties
I found some very lean pork, used an on-line recipe from Alton Brown.  Next I added my own garden sage, rosemary, marjoram and onions and some other spices and patted it out. It was very lean, so for tasty fun I added some chapped bacon in the next batch. I think I will add olive oil to the next to strike a better balance between tasty and healthy. I really like my own sausage, it is a premium product and will get better as I tweak the recipe my way.

It strikes me that both of these topics have a lot to do with intentionality and deliberation. Our sermon this week was about honoring one another. I think they are all connected. Deliberation lets us slow down and single out what characteristics or traits we value. Can be type and taste of a pepper, ingredients and recipes for sausage or praiseworthy actions of others. Intentionality means we have decided to do something with that information, let it have some kind of effect. In the business and leadership world it is called strategy or execution. We take information and let it inform and guide our responses. It does a lot of things that I haven't thought through yet, but it does help make an interesting breakfast and garden.

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