MARQUETTE - Deborah Moore is 61 years old, yet she looks about 20 years younger. The reason why she looks so youthful: eating healthy, home-grown food.
"I really attribute my youthfulness to eating good, healthy food - not genetically modified," Moore said at a recent workshop where she taught residents how to preserve, dry and can foods.
Moore, who lives in Big Bay, has been preserving her own organic foods for the past 40 years. From drying strawberries to canning chicken and making jelly, Moore has done it all.
Deborah Moore of Big Bay talks about canning and drying organic foods at a recent Slow Food Central U.P. workshop at the Peter White Public Library. (Journal photo by Miriam Moeller)
Kim Danielson of Marquette prepares fresh mint leaves before putting them into a food dryer. Danielson was one of several residents who recently learned about preserving organic foods at a workshop held by the non-profit organization Slow Food Central U.P. (Journal photo by Miriam Moeller)
"I grow my own foods," she said. "The reason behind that is I have a strong belief in our food source. It's better to preserve what you have grown because you know what's in it."
Only by growing your own food do you know what has been put in the soil, she said. To the contrary, she said when shopping for foods in a store, you can never be sure where it came from and what is in it.
"I've grown my own garden for the same 40 years I've been canning it," she said, adding that good pure food can keep people healthy.
Moore's workshop was held at the Peter White Public Library by Slow Food Central U.P., a non-profit organization that supports consuming locally grown and quality foods. About 20 workshop participants listened to Moore explain what equipment is needed to dry and can foods.
"One of the keys to successful drying is even slicing, so it dries evenly," she said.
As far as canning goes, Moore said fruits, jellies, jams and other high acid foods should be canned in a water bath, while pressure canners are used for meats and vegetables.
"Jelly jars don't stand pressure cookers," she said.
While canning and drying her produce, Moore said she focuses on using as little electricity as possible, working with a wood stove and mostly manual equipment. Moore also doesn't like to waste anything, feeding leftovers to her chickens or canning tiny portions before throwing food out.
"I try not to waste anything," she said.
As far as storing canned foods, Moore said it's important to rotate.
However, "you can keep home-canned food longer than a can from the store," she said.
For information on similar workshops, visit the Web site: slowfoodcup.org.