Food storage thoughts…

Tonight I’ll be processing more beans, making yogurt, making eggplant parmesan (at Jeff’s request), and reorganizing (or rather, organizing, it’s so crazy up there!) my craft space. I noticed yesterday or the day before that the beans were looking harvestable again, and so I went out on this deliciously cool and rainy afternoon and harvested a ton. At least, I think it’s a ton- being the third full harvest and from only two 8×4 raised beds. I’m happy with the beans we’re getting. 

The tomatoes, on the other hand, are really sad this year. Super blighted and dying away… I don’t really know what to do about them. I may just harvest all the green tomatoes that haven’t been affected yet and try to ripen them indoors, just so we can get the most out of the plants. Otherwise, things are looking good. Our pepper plants are affected by some kind of bacteria, but the actual peppers are looking fine and happy, and we’ve stored a ton already. Jeff and I sat down and had a little food storage meeting the other day, about what we wanted out of our vegetables and how we’ll put them up. I wanted to post it here for my reference, and also to see if anyone has suggestions.

The fate of the garden… 2010-11

Tomatoes: at least 40 quarts of crushed, 20 or so of sauce, and as much salsa as we can get, red and green- maybe 30 pints or so, and also my tomato skin relish (for which I will definitely post a recipe this year)

Peppers: as many as we can harvest, sliced and frozen in quart bags.

Green beans: can, dilly beans, lacto-fermented relish?

Eggplant: baba ghanouj, to freeze; eggplant tomato relish, eggplant soup

Greens (chard, kale, collards, purslane, spinach, and lamb’s quarters): blanch and freeze, put in canned soups

Summer squash: shred & freeze, pickle, soups

Brussels Sprouts: blanch/freeze

Broccoli: blanch/freeze, soups

Beets/Carrots/Potatoes/Onions: cold storage, soups, lacto-fermented

Cabbage: sauerkraut, kim chi, soups, blanch/freeze big leaves for stuffing

Radishes: pickle/lacto-ferment

Garlic: cold storage

Various Herbs: dry, freeze, pesto

Winter squash: buy from local farmers (acorn, butternut, pumpkin, delicata)- whole, in cold storage

Corn: buy from local farmers- enough for a pint a week

Fruit: buy from local farmers and freeze or dry, will make apple butter and apple/pepper chutney, possibly some freezer jams (although I’m trying to really limit sugar in our lives, so if we want jam then I might just take frozen fruit and cook down with a little honey as needed…)

Meat: all bulk from local sources

Am I forgetting anything? Is there anything that you would do that I haven’t mentioned?

Comments (10)

  1. purerandomness

    I’m thinking of what I have growing: I didn’t see onions on your list but I’m sure braided/cold storage is fine for those.
    I also have fennel growing, but I’d lump that with other root veggies like turnips and parsnips and assume you’re going to get those from local farmers?

    Are you going to save and dry any green stuff for the chickens during the winter or just feed them dry feed from the store? I’m not sure if chickens like dried grass clippings or dried weeds, although I know they like just about anything you throw them!

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Oh yes, thank you for pointing that out! I’m actually going to be harvesting my onions soon- after the soil dries out a bit.

      Turnips and parsnips! I may just have time to plant those… I don’t know! Thank you for the ideas. If it’s too late then I’ll just buy them, but it’s so easy to grow that stuff. 🙂

      Also, what a cool idea about the chickens. We have so much green waste at the end that we would just compost, I could easily hang some to dry for them… interesting. I’ll have to test it out on them. I could at least mix it into their feed and it’ll provide a little nutritional boost. Such a great idea! Our plan was just to give them lots of kitchen scraps and also to dumpster dive for things to give them… but I’ll post more on that later. 😉

      1. purerandomness

        We planted the fennel and I realized I have no idea what to do with it. I don’t know when to harvest it, if we can take the fronds for salads/quiche whatever now or if that will impact the root… I should do some reading.
        Let me know if there’s still time to plant turnips/parsnips. I know they’re later veggies and I absolutely LOVE them in the middle of winter!

      2. david_anderson

        I met a guy who gets free lightly spoiled bales of mixed hay for his chickens. They will eat the alfalfa, forbs and seeds, just use the rest as bedding. It can’t be used for horses or cows, but the chickens pick and choose what is still good. Then the hay and chicken poop go into the compost pile.

        I don’t know if it’s any help to you, but it works well for him.

        1. Gracie (Post author)

          Thanks so much for the suggestions! I bet we can score something like that. 🙂

  2. david_anderson

    Interesting, I also leave corn to local farmers. You need to plant it in large patches to get good production, which will give me more than I want and take up valuable space. We also have a local farmer who is a real corn fiend, so he grows and eats the best corn I’ve ever tasted.

    Do you grow any tomatillos? I consider them a sure-fire crop, and with our limited tomato production this year, I’m sure I’m going to be eating a lot of salsa verde this winter.

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      I didn’t know that, I have some friends who planted a pretty small patch of corn this year and are disappointed with it- I wonder if they planted too few?

      I grew tomatillos once, but they tasted funny. I will have to try them again next year, because I do love salsa verde! Great idea, it’s going in my notebook. 🙂

      1. purerandomness

        Corn has to cross-pollinate, so you need LOTS to get a good yield. If your friends only planted 6 or so then that may not be enough. Corn is tricky, though.

      2. david_anderson

        I always found that the three rows of corn plants, around all four sides of a patch, would produce really sad corn. So it needed a block of more than 6×6 to start getting really nice ears on the inside few plants.

        As purerandomness said, corn is tricky in lots of ways. I can grow it, and I will grow it again, but if I have a really good organic source, most of my other plants will be a higher priority.

        With tomatillos, you might have picked them under-ripe. At that stage, you want to leave them around for a few days to develop sugar, and use them cooked (roasted or boiled). That’s the way they usually sell them in the stores. When they are ripe, they start turning a duller green, going towards a yellowish beige. At this point you can pick them off the plant and eat them straight. They’re sweet and soft.

  3. yayhappens

    For the eggplant, my mother used to take them and flame roast them until the vegetable was soft and mushy, and then she mixed it in with actual egg into an omelette. It was so yummy. And very different tasting than the firm sauteed veggie!


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