Putting Up Food

We practice seasonal eating, meaning we orient our meal planning around what’s in season at the time. For example, last night for supper we had a stir fry, made from the last of this years Chinese cabbage and the first of this years garlic, squash, peppers and onions. Cherie has discovered some great new recipes lately, using Google to find new ways to combine what we have. Last week she made Swiss chard and zucchini enchiladas that were amazing. She also made a great dish from squash and kale.

With food coming in year-round here, we could eat fresh without ever having to rely on stored food. But of course there are going to be times in the winter when we want tomato sauce, or asparagus soup, or zucchini bread. Et cetera.

So we can, freeze, dehydrate, and pickle. We also cure and store potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic and onions. Even when we’re not eating fresh from the garden, the great majority of what we’re eating is always from this farm.

Of course putting up food in the summer is just one major task to add to already impossibly long list of things to do. It is very difficult to keep up with nature this time of year. Right now it feels like we desperately need to put up squash and wild blackberries, for example. I worry that unless we make the time to do that, they’ll be gone and we won’t have any for the winter.

And that brings me to what I expect is a very common homesteader mistake: putting up too much food. We do it every year. When the gardens are cranking out more than a family can reasonably eat, it’s only natural to start preserving it for later. It’s important, however, to take stock of what not only what you have, but what you need.

I’ve been bringing in green beans lately and Cherie feels the pressure to put some up. But the other day she told me that we still haven’t finished eating the ones she froze two years ago! Likewise blackberries. I worry that the window will close on them, but Cherie points out that we still have blackberries left from last year.

But it just feels wrong not to save what we can’t eat fresh. Oh well, it’s a nice problem to have I reckon.

As a reminder, for any interested I now have a new blog focused on local history. You can find it HERE.