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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Harvesting for Winter

I am waiting for rain that is not coming. A cold front is moving through the region this morning and it was supposed to bring a lot of rain our way but it seems that the rain has fizzled out. C'est la vie. The market garden will have to continue to depend on well water irrigation for now.

It is Wednesday and we have no markets to deal with today and we did not sell many strawberries yesterday at the Tuesday market so today I am going to make strawberry jam, something I have not done in years. I think I will also freeze some green beans and can the apple sauce Eugene made last night since it is going to be reasonably cool today and tonight.

A big part of gardening is being able to put food up for winter. This seems to be a foreign concept to most Americans and that is a huge shame. When I had a CSA, early on I would purposely give members a lot of food and instructions on how to freeze, dry or can the extra food so they would have pure local food in winter time, thus stretching their food dollars. In the ten years I ran a CSA I had maybe 3 members who got that idea. Wot a shame.

I take great joy in putting food by. Yes, it takes time and is often hot sweaty labor but come winter when we are feasting on beans, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, corn, pesto, dried herbs, garlic powder, peas, jams and jellies, applesauce, etc., it is well worth the work done in the heat of summer. It saves us boat loads of money in winter when money is always in short supply for us and we do not have to worry about where our food came from or with what it has been adulterated. That and it is very satisfying to have shelves full of beautiful jars of homemade food and freezers full of produce and chicken that we raised.

If you raise a garden and do not already can dry freeze and otherwise preserve your harvest you should start because otherwise you are not taking full advantage of what your garden is producing. If you buy at farmers markets buy extra and freeze or can it. If you belong o a CSA and cannot eat all the food each week, instead of giving it away or trashing it, put it up for winter. It takes just a few hours per week to do this. Your co-operative extension office will have loads of information on putting food by.


coles said...

We do a bit of preserving food. The new projects for this year are to build a solar food dryer and buy a fermenting crock and a cabbage cutter so we can try making our own kraut.


katie said...

It is my theory that the year was made just long enough that the memories of the pain of last year's canning season fade completely just in time for the start of this year's. We continue to try all sorts of other preservation methods, but as I'm sure you've found, sometimes canning is simply the best way to go.

All the best to you.