Well, I know it’s time for my meal plan (especially since I didn’t publish one last week), I’ve got a couple of sponsored posts to get done and a lot of topics I really want to cover with you all–but I’ve also got 2 ladies showing up in about 15 minutes for a big spaghetti sauce making extravaganza–I’m going to teach them how to make and can it. Woohoo!
So obviously I don’t really have time to write much right this moment. . . but I’d like to just give you a few quick thoughts I’ve been having about food as I’ve moved this year into growning even more of my food and preserving it for winter. These are just thoughts-not a lot of “exposition” as my highschool English teacher would say. I’d love to make this post more about what YOU guys have to say in the comments with your own thoughts and input.
Having a garden changes the way you eat. It’s not just that you have more fresh vegetables on hand-it’s that they arrive in “bursts” and you wind up with a glut of things, and that causes you to cook them in ways you wouldn’t if you were just heading to the grocery store for fresh. For example, I would never go to the grocery store and purchase a cucumber or radishes just with the intent of chopping them up and sauteeing them. But if I have a lot in the garden. . . well that’s another story. That must me much more how our grandparents and the generations before them cooked.
Cooking “dishes” or “recipes” every single night must be a more modern invention. Many meals must have been just a combination of what vegetables and such were on hand and the meat and starches that were readily available. Many “dishes” must have been more reserved for special occasions.
There is only so much room in ones freezer. I really prefer certain foods frozen–beans for example. That’s because when you can or dehydrate certain items it changes the texture. However, back to there is only so much room–I am canning and dehydrating a bunch of things that I don’t really prefer that way. So those items will wind up being worked into casseroles, stews and such rather than eaten fresh. Again, this must be more like previous generations–who just didn’t have certain items fresh during the winter and early spring.
If the freezer goes for some reason, you can lose everything in there. Putting “all your eggs in one basket” is a bad idea–so again doing canning and dehydrating is good “insurance”.
Gardening and preserving your food are a lot of work. A. Lot. Of. Work. I’m going to have a significant portion of my family’s diet from food I preserved this winter–but if I was really truly going to feed my family for a whole year from things we grew and/or preserved ourselves (so that’s even buying tomatoes from local farmers etc) it would be a FULL TIME JOB. As in not really any time for anything else. And I’d need the kiddos to help a LOT more in tending the garden, harvesting etc. You can see why folks on small homesteads and true farms had big families. Wow. Even thought I expected it to be a lot of work it was even more work than I thought.
Instead of just “putting up” food for the winter I need to work more on extending the harvest. A lot of my “main” garden doesn’t start producing until mid August in my climate. The spring I have greens and peas–then those bolt and there is sort of a lull before the beans, tomatoes etc start coming in, then we hit frost in late September. By learning how to use cold frames and plastic row covers if I can keep things producing farther into the fall that means that you don’t have to crack into your preserved food until later in the year. That means it will last longer. And using those things in the early spring means you can start getting greens sooner.
This year’s cold frames will probably be planted “all wrong”. yeah-I’ll get greens and such out of them, but I’m betting I’m making about a 100 mistakes right now. It usually takes me 2 or 3 years to really get something right–like this is the 2nd or 3rd time I’ve tried planting a “fall garden” and the first time that it looks like I’ll actually get something worth mentioning.
Well that’s just a few thoughts for now.