Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter Food

After yapping about the garden and the harvest all year, I thought it might be interesting to write a little foodie post here in the great white north.

I haven't been out to a grocery store yet this year.  lol.  Not a huge accomplishment, we're only three weeks in.  However, I don't do a lot of grocery store shopping in the small towns at all, and I haven't been to the city since November.

I was buying a lot of bread!  Yes, bread, of all things.  Husband was picking it up on the way home from work, parents were picking it up for me, and I even bought a few loaves at our little store.  I was still baking lots of bread, but no one wanted to eat it, least of all me.  I tried a bunch of different recipes, but I was getting nowhere.  It was all so disgusting, heavy, and smelled like beer when sliced open.  I finally gave up, and asked my dad to pick me up some new yeast.  That was definitely the problem.  We're back to light, fluffy, yummy, fresh baked bread.  Now when I think about how much money I wasted on store bought bread while trying to convince myself that that jar of expensive yeast was fine...  Yeash.  Should definitely have replaced the yeast sooner.

Vegetation wise, my few trips to the store since fall have yielded a few stocks of celery, which for some reason are hard for me to resist in the winter.  Maybe it's the crunch?  Celery is one of my favourite snack foods.  I'm up to three bags of frozen corn, because you can only eat so much turkey before you go on a corn rampage apparently.  And of course, I never leave a store without a bunch of mushrooms.  Do they actually count as a veggie?  Packed with Vitamin D, mushrooms are one of my best friends throughout the winter.

Otherwise on the veggie front, we're getting low on carrots.  We had some spoilage this year, I think due to that lovely weather we had in the fall, keeping the cold room warmer than usual. Beans and beets are the everyday go to veggies, pretty much alternating every third day.  The bean supply is getting slimmer, but not done yet.  Broccoli is gone, gone, gone.  A few turnips left, and still two pumpkins.  Finished our first ten pound bag of onions.  Onions are starting to get soft and grow, so I'm not too sure how much longer the second bag will last.  I'm into my third (and last) 50 pound bag of potatoes.  I'll need to make a trip to the potato man soon to replenish my stock.  I nearly forgot about the tomatoes, so I've just started using them up.

In the meat department, eating a few turkeys certainly helps to clear out some freezer space!  I'm actually pleasantly surprised with the reception the turkey is still getting around here.  No complaints from the boys, despite turkey sandwiches and days of leftovers.  Lots of roast beef, a bit of corned beef, and a fair bit of steak is gone, but still over half remains.  I am starting to dig for pork, which is kind of funny, considering how I avoided it for so long.  We will definitely be ready for new piglets this year.  The bit of pork we're eating is now a rare treat.  The bear has hardly been touched, on account of it all being in the garage freezer.  I do have room now to start shuffling some things around and bringing more variety closer for convenience.  A warmer day would be encouraging to get my arse in motion.

Fruit is crazy.  I think the boys are losing their sweet teeth as well.  They've eaten 1 jar of pears, and a few jars of jam.  My fruit shelves are still packed.  The apple supply has dwindled significantly, and they devoured a big pot of applesauce after I did my midwinter apple sort, removing apples with bad spots from the boxes.  Perhaps it's just that the pumpkin treats have been sufficiently satisfying.  At any rate, I will be trying to stuff more fruit into baked treats for the rest of the winter.  Blueberry sauce cookies anyone?

Reasons to head out to the grocery store...  We are getting low on rice, dried beans and pasta.  Pasta sauce has also taken a hit, and baking supplies (powder, soda, chocolate chips, and sugar) are at an all time low.

All in all, I'm quite pleased with our harvest from last year, and looking forward to doing it all over again this year.  It's definitely been our most self sustained year yet!


  1. Baked goods with fruit in the batter is good. I imagine boys outdoors in your weather doing chores or playing will have a great appetite. My kids did not turn up their nose is they had been out in the cold long enough and we did not have snow or lots of frigid weather.

    It seems you have enough meat. How long do you think vegetables will last? I mean how many months will you be between eating the last of your stores and the ability to have fresh vegetables? Just how big is the gap when you want have anything to harvest?

    You did a great job on growing and storing. Would canning half the carrots work, so that when you ate the stored ones you could then eat the canned ones? Don't you like how I have thought up new work for you? LOL Your to do lists are always soooo long or tedious.

    Did you store brocolli in your cold room? Someone should make a movie about your exploits.

    1. Yes, the boys maintain their healthy appetites. It just seems that they lean more toward salty/meaty/breads than sugary/sweet/fruits these days.

      From the garden,
      just beets, beans and turnips left. Beans are down to about half, so if I limited them to twice a week, we'd still be eating them into April. The beets are pickled, and even eating them three times a week, I expect we'll still have a few jars left when I start canning next fall. The turnips are getting a bit soft, so I don't expect them to make it past February.

      From fall storage
      carrots will probably be gone mid February. Onions, maybe the end of Feb. Apples, end of Feb. (I did get another harvest sale, and bought 8 more 8 pound bags. There's roughly 20 pounds left now.) I bought 150 pounds of potatoes, and I'll probably buy another 100 pounds in the next few weeks. Then in the spring I'll buy 1 50 pound bag at a time, because they don't keep as well in the cold room. We never really run out of potatoes. :) The pumpkins I've been cooking one at a time, then going a bit crazy baking pumpkin treats to use it all up. I could probably do one in Feb, and one in March, and work in some other fruit treats for more variety.

      So... long winded story, lol, I will probably buy more corn, some broccoli, and carrots in the near future grocery store trips, to keep up variety. By the end of February I start getting salad cravings, and usually splurge on imported lettuce, peppers, tomatoes. For shame! So not sustainable. If we have an early spring, we should be getting dandelion greens by mid- late May, rhubarb and asparagus by June. So, if I want to be truly sustainable, I need to up the stores by another four months worth.

      Canning carrots might be required in future SHTF scenarios, but the boys, goats, horses and cows all prefer them raw and crunchy. I think my mistake was in buying so many from that first harvest sale, and thinking I was done carrots for this year. With the mild fall, it would have been better if I had made smaller purchases over a month or so, so they wouldn't have all been sitting through the warm spell. Live and learn.

      Broccoli was frozen.

      Thanks for all the questions & suggestions!

  2. I just wish I could get that much food from my garden.

    1. I guess my post was kind of misleading, it wasn't all from the garden. See the links above for the full picture.