Green Wizardries: Meal Planning

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Green Wizardries, Meal Planning by Maxine Rogers

I have seen people look all surprised at mealtimes because they seem to have missed out on the fact that meals need to be prepared and served at certain times of the day.  This is curious but true.  The troops tend to get a bit restive and even caustic when supper rolls around and nothing has been prepared.  The process of ensuring meals arrive on time is called, “Meal Planning.”

Now, meal planning can be a simple affair.  I tend to prepare meal plans for a month.  This means, I can limit my trips to town because I have everything I need to prepare 30 suppers and 30 lunches.  We don’t suddenly run out of a critical ingredient and need to go out and buy it.  

If you are concerned with pollution, global warming or do not wish to kill little creatures on the road with a huge, brutal vehicle, then you might want to think of planning ahead so you only need to go to town every month or six weeks.  Think of the savings on ferry trips!  A person could easily go a whole summer without once getting in a ferry line up.  

I find shopping for a month of meals easy to do because we have a sheet of paper on the fridge and when one of us uses up a packet, tin or bottle of something, we write it on the list.  Then, we go to the pantry and bring out it’s replacement.  We always have several replacements and they are stock rotated for freshness.  This way, in case of some emergency, we would not need to go to town for months.   

If I want some hummus or a bean soup, I go to my gallon jar of Jerusalem broad beans and take out as much as I need to soak overnight to make the dish the next day.  The Jerusalems come from last year’s garden so the hummus I eat today was planted in the spring of 2023.  That too is meal planning.  

Planning a garden is a form of meal planning.  Last year, I didn’t plant, harvest and dry enough zucchini to get through this winter.  I also didn’t produce enough sweet peppers to get through the winter.  I am on my last bag of dried peppers.  This year, I aim to overproduce both crops, just to be on the safe side.

I have kale plants standing in the garden and sometime this month, I expect them to be roused from their torpor by the spring sunshine.  Once that happens, they will begin to produce tasty flower shoots that are a spring delicacy.   I planted them nearly a year ago with this spring’s steamed kale flowers in mind.  They taste great raw with a dip or steamed and served smothered in a decadent Hollandaise sauce.  

I recently bought Galleon Cauliflower seeds from Salt Spring Seeds.  I bought them because I want to have a supply of fresh cauliflowers for April and May of 2025.  Yes, the Galleons are an overwintering cauliflower and will give me fresh cauliflowers in the early spring of next year.  That is not all.  

A couple of my friends grow Galleon Cauliflowers on both our islands and they are perennials.  One friend grew them and the first year, she got two or three nice heads.  The following spring, the same plant, now a sizeable shrub, produced ten heads in the early spring and two of them were over ten inches across.  My friends on Denman have been growing their Galleon for several years now and the plant shows no sign of slowing down.  A packet of Galleon seeds costs only five dollars so I think it a terrific investment.    

Planting fruit trees and bushes is a form of meal planning, or rather, dessert planning.  Why buy slightly suspicious frozen fruit at Costco?  I did this once and the frozen mango chunks I purchased tasted of mildew.  Never again.  

And why would I buy fruit when Denman and Hornby produce so much organic fruit in season. We grow blackberries, blueberries, Marion berries, strawberries, grapes, plums, apples, quince, peaches, and both sweet and sour cherries.  

We really are blessed with an abundance of fruit but not every summer sees a successful fruit crop.  So meal planning involves harvesting the various fruit crops at the peak of ripeness and freezing, drying or canning the fruit so one has enough for at least two years because not every summer has a successful fruit crop.  

 

Perhaps, you are saying that sounds like a lot of work but it is also a lot of work to earn money to buy stale vegetables and gas-ripened fruit, all of it bathed in pesticides.

PS, I am delighted the Trudeau Liberals have decided to shelve their plan to offer death on easy terms to Canadians suffering from mental illness.  They hope to offer MAID after the next election.  They may well need a few poisoned pills themselves as they look likely to be thrashed in the next election.