It's only spring now, but the fall freezer plans actually began a few months ago. The fall freezer plans begin the first time I stick my hands in the dirt to start seedlings in January. I try to grow enough of the foods we like every year to avoid having to buy them in the grocery store. The garden gets bigger every year. I start more seedling every year. I have never been successful. But I keep trying.
Spring is also the season to order chicks. I ordered 50 hatch day choice chicks this year. It's the season to buy a pig. It's the season to buy cattle. Freezer planning starts early in the country when you're trying to be self sufficient.
Here's my plan for this year. 365 days, 365 meals.
35 chickens. I plan to keep some for eggs next year.
8 hams. Each hind quarter of our pig should be large enough to divide into two meals for us.
8 pork chops. (That's meals, not individual chops.)
8 pork stew meat
4 quarts of lard.
That's based on what I remember getting off of each of our previous pigs. Pig could be much larger by fall than our previous pigs were, so we may have a bit of a windfall there.
30 rabbits. I bought 4 bucks & a doe in the spring. One of the bucks is already in the freezer. I need time to butcher two more. The doe has her first litter now, with six bunnies. I expect her to have three more litters by fall.
20 fish. This is dependent on us finding a decent lake & making the time to go fishing.
5 partridge- dependent on how hunting season goes this year.
That leaves 248 meals that I need to plan for. The current plan is to buy a bull calf, who will hopefully manage to impregnate my cow by fall, and then butcher him. We won't butcher until after hunting season though, on the chance that we may need freezer space for bear or moose. Although it would be nice if we got a small bear and a calf moose, leaving enough space to butcher the bull as well, giving us more variety. Can't be choosy though. Butchering is weather dependent, since we do it ourselves at home. It must be cool enough to keep the meat from going bad, but not freezing.
I aim for 365 servings of vegetation as well.
150 green beans
40 stew mix veggies- That's a pot of stew every week all winter. It includes green beans, turnip, brussel sprouts, dandelion buds, & carrots.
10 dandelion greens
43 corn. I love corn, but we're slightly too far north to grow our own. With a bit of luck I'll be able to buy a couple of bushels of local corn from the city south of us.
20 tomatoes (If they survive)
52 jars of pickled beets (one a week) will also be added to the cold room.
And 365 servings of fruit.
Our easiest and most plentiful fruit is blueberries. Between the freezer and the cold room I'll end up with at least 100 servings of blueberries.
80 raspberries. They're not quite as plentiful as the blueberries, but still we manage a good harvest.
30 rhubarb. I have a large rhubarb patch and it's almost ready to start harvesting.
35 pears. My parents have a tree, and they'll bring 2 or 3 feed bags full of pears up when they come to visit.
20 strawberries. I may be pushing my luck here, with new transplants in the garden this year.
In addition to these staples, I also pickle dill pickles, pickled carrots, pickled peppers, pickled garlic. These tend to be eaten more like condiments than servings. I can salsa. I make jams, jellies, fruit sauces & syrops.
We'll also store cabbage, carrots, onions, and potatoes in the cold room.