The canning and preserving of foods was widely implemented as a food storage technique in the late 1700s when militaries throughout the world were desperate to find an effective way to stock foods for their campaigns. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, canning foods has become increasingly popular in the home since the 1950s when more information and supplies for food preservation became available to the general public. In the Southern United States, preserving farm fresh produce as jams, jellies or pickles is a particularly important practice that not only meets traditional food storage needs, but also fuels the Southern tradition of passing a skill from generation to generation.
|Photos by Denny Culbert|
“My mom taught me to make pepper jelly and wine jelly a few years ago,” says Emily Bettevy, owner of Green Boot Creations. “I also grew up watching my neighbors in Pineville who were like grandparents to me put away produce that they grew in their large garden every year. When [my neighbor] passed away, her family gave me her pressure canner that she used to put away all of those vegetables. I felt like I was handed a pile of gold coins.”
In 2006, after receiving multiple requests from friends to purchase the pepper jelly she had given as Christmas gifts the year before, Bettevy started Green Boot Creations, an artisanal local foods business that primarily makes jellies and jams. As Bettevy became more proficient and comfortable with preserving foods, she generated her own recipes, like wine, beer and bourbon jellies, with local, farm fresh produce. Her other creations include pickled vegetables and orange marmalades. Now Bettevy sells regularly on Etsy.com, at Arts & Fleas at Downtown Lafayette’s 2nd Saturday Artwalk, and at other markets and local food events throughout Acadiana, such as the monthly Sunday brunch and market at Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro. Bettevy only sources locally grown fruits, herbs, peppers, and vegetables in her products and has found a consumer niche in Acadiana to which she successfully markets her products.
“I buy from Green Boot Creations and other local foods artisans because it not only supports local business, but also supports local farmers,” says Michael Bell, a biologist and slow foods movement supporter. “I like knowing where my food comes from and who is handling it; that adds a level of comfort to the whole buying experience.”
Bettevy shares Bell’s beliefs and purchases produce for Green Boot Creations from farmers she knows at Hub City and Freetown farmer’s markets and other farms throughout Acadiana. She also grows and picks her own citrus, herbs, peppers and more. Bettevy’s newest product is a strawberry basil jam recipe in which she features strawberries from Robin Farms, a family-operated farm located in Church Point, and homegrown basil.
"As a local producer, I want to support local. I know that I can’t compete with big producers, but I also know that I’m putting quality ingredients in my products, as are other local producers,” says Bettevy. “Local means fresh. The whole point of canning and preserving is to preserve the season. With the availability of so many fruits and vegetables in grocery stores year-round, we’ve forgotten about the cycles and seasons of produce. We’ve also forgotten how much better fresh tastes over stuff shipped from another country.”
In addition to continuously working on new recipes that mix local flavors, Green Boot Creations is now exploring vegan and sugar-free products to market to health-conscious local foods consumers with more specific dietary needs.
“This summer I’ll be making a few test runs with a gelatin-substitute made from a sea vegetable called agar-agar kanten,” says Bettevy. “I’m looking forward to being able to serve a wider audience this way.”
Tyler F. Thigpen is a wetland ecologist and president of Acadiana Food Circle (www.AcadianaFoodCircle.org), a community-based nonprofit that connects local food producers to consumers.
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Odell Beckham on the catch; chaos in Ferguson; snowstorm set to snarl travel and more national and international news for Tuesday, November 25, 2014.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Saints Street cottage or River Ranch condo
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Facing opposition from a powerful industry, the governor and many in the Legislature, a New Orleans-area flood board's lawsuit against dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies seemed doomed early on.
"I want to take an opportunity to thank the people of Lafayette for allowing me to serve you for the last three years as your school superintendent."
After Thanksgiving, the small town of Moreauville plans to confiscate and kill all rottweilers and pitbulls, including a service dog.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.