Independence Days Update: Focus on End of Season Food Preservation

Sharon October 26th, 2008

It has been a while since I’ve done an Independence Days update – seems like a good time.  For those of you who are new readers and don’t know what this is, you might check out the “Independence Days” topic on the sidebar of the blog.  We’re working on doing just a little bit every day to grow and preserve food, and also preserve our security.

I thought we’d focus on food preservation late in the season a bit here.  For those of us heading into winter, planting is winding down and it may feel like food preservation is done.  And there’s some truth there – although we’re still adding food to our root cellars and I still have a few projects left to do, including starting the sauerkraut and other lactofermented stuff on a large scale.  I write more here about the cycle of the food preservation year here http://sharonastyk.com/2008/07/08/the-food-preservers-year/- but remember, like everything in my life, it sounds impressive all written down, but shouldn’t intimidate you. A. I never get it all right and b. that’s part of the point of the Independence Day challenge – when you write down your accomplishments, without all the caveats “but I forgot too…” or “but I didn’t…” it always looks impressive.  And that’s how we get to some kind of self-assurance here – we have to find a way to let go of our mistakes and limitations and sometimes just be proud of what we have done. 

Anyway, I’m seeing the benefits of the IDC every day here – my shelves are fuller than they’ve ever been, and breaking it down into little bits has made me less stressed about food preservation.  There were definitely failures – tomatoes didn’t ripen because of cold, rainy weather, and I put up fewer than I have in years – but successes as well – the same weather lead to a bumper crop of cucumbers, so I’ve got 3 years worth of pickles.

For me, the preservation year is definitely settling down, but I do want to remind people that now, when the heat of a stove or dehydrator is welcome and a lot of us are indoors more, is a good time for certain kinds of preservation.  Some of these that we do include:

1. It is butchering time, and a good time for canning meats, if you do so.  Even if you don’t have animals, you might consider buying some meat – or animal parts that sell cheaply like chicken feet (which, if you get over the weirdness, make a fabulous chicken stock) and consider canning that.  Make sure you are pressuring canning, and that you understand how to do so safely.

2. It is a good time to make a few cold frames out of hay or straw bales and an old window.  You can put these over your existing kale, spinach or other cold hardy crops.

3. Now is a good time to start keeping a close eye on root cellared stores – an apple that gets bruised or a bad spot can be dehydrated (you can slice them into rings and hang them on thread to dry in most houses that have low humidity with winter heating), or sauced.  A squash or sweet potato that isn’t keeping well can be canned up or made into a leather.

4. I sometimes throw tomatoes or fruit sauces in the freezer if I have space and no time to preserve them – these can be defrosted and the tomatoes chopped up for sauce, the fruit sauces canned.

5. If you are prone to or concerned about extended power outages (and these happen in wintery and icy places in the country), it might not be a bad idea to get your canning skills honed just in case you lose your freezer for a while.  Many of the things we freeze can also be canned, if you have a source of non-electric cooking energy.  Some things you’ll want to dump -  I wouldn’t eat frozen green beans that were then canned unless Iwas really hungry – give them to the dogs, chickens or compost.  But your hard spent money shouldn’t be all lost.

6. Now is a great time to get good deals on large quantities of root vegetables – and it is getting cold enough to store them well.  There’s a lot of information about root cellaring here: http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/12/growing-or-buying-fresh-food-for-root-cellaring/

7. Cold weather is the ideal time for fermentation – cole crops are at their best, and whether fermented beets for borscht (yeah, yeah, I know, the poor maligned beet!), kimchi, sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables – you have no idea how good fermented turnips are – they are worth trying.  Fermented foods have more accessible B vitamins, natural antibiotics and better digestibility than unfermented vegetables – and they are delicious.  More on this here: http://sharonastyk.com/2008/07/17/lactofermentation/

 Ok on to the update:

1. Planted something: Garlic, winter wheat

2. Harvested something: Quinces, apples, popcorn, dried corn, herbs.

3. Preserved something: Made sauerkraut, applesauce, dried apples, pickled beets, dilled carrots, pickled onions, dehydrated garlic, quince jam.  Froze the last of the garden broccoli. 

4. Stored something: Added some pasta, matches and peanuts to our storage.  Ordered some more dried cranberries and flaxseeds.  Bought

5. Prepped something: Still plugging away at moving the office up to our bedroom, began serious firewood stacking and moving.  Bought three led headlamps for night milking in winter.  Bought sunflower seeds to use as a goat and chicken feed supplement.  Got chickens butchered and delivered to the people we sold them to, which frees up the freezer again – now for a serious organizing of the freezer.

6. Cooked something new: I’ve been making various new versions of labneh with our goat’s milk and herbs, made sweet-potato peanut stew.

7.  Worked on community food systems – worked on getting the local foods luncheon at our synagogue going, talked about a local foods cookbook with someone who might be able to get it done, planned a food pantry garden for a local group.

8. Managed my reserves – sorted out the early apples for sauce.

9. Learned a new skill – Can’t think of any.

 How about y’all?

 Sharon

35 Responses to “Independence Days Update: Focus on End of Season Food Preservation”

  1. sueinithacaon 26 Oct 2008 at 10:02 am

    Let’s see -

    Harvested something: APPLES! also the last of the tomatillos. Am going to go foraging for green tomatoes in the garden since it’s sunny today (we’ve had a hard freeze, bt I bet there are a few that aren’t rotten yet).

    Planted something: nope. Meaning to get on that garlic.

    Worked on Community Food Systems: our summer fruit CSA went so well that we’ve decided to offer a Winter fruit CSA. Am currently tracking down all of the components – since we decided to do this at the last minute, I had not personally set aside enough for 50 people. We’ll have apples, cider, frozen berries, honey, jam, and grape juice. It’s *really* exciting that we’ll be able to eat locally for most of the year in upstate NY. I’ve always been jealous of friends in warmer climates with long growing seasons, but with careful planning, we can do it too.

    Preserved something: tomatillo salsa, apple butter, quince paste, drying peppers above the woodstove.

    Stored something: well, all those canned goods. And I scored a 50 pound bucket of honey at a discount since I bought 100 pounds for the CSA.

  2. Andreaon 26 Oct 2008 at 10:18 am

    I love reading posts about the harvest and canning. This year I put up about 700 pints of food in various forms. Plus we’re stocking our storage area with dry goods, root veggies, apples, etc.

    We cold-framed the spinach, carrots, broccoli and greens so hopefully we’ll continue to have fresh veggies for another few weeks.

    As far as canning goes, I’ve discovered lately that milk cans beautifully. While we don’t have any dairy-producers on our little homestead, I did catch some milk on sale (halfprice) a few weeks ago and canned up 7 gallons of it. Our road is very low priority when it comes to snow removal, so having some milk available for the kids will be a load off my mind.

    Thanks Sharon….love the column!

  3. Fernon 26 Oct 2008 at 10:30 am

    Last Monday was the last day of the CSA we are in, today was the last day of the most local farmers’ market.

    I harvested the last of the produce from my garden – green tomatoes and cabbage. Dried the tomatoes.

    Started seeds for winter greens, which a squirrel promptly dug up. I hear that squirrels are Good Eats…

    Dried lots of apples. Did runs to my ’stock up stores’, didn’t buy much because I’m out of room for canned stuff. Dried stuff sure takes less room to store! Did get 9 more pounds of oatmeal, and OTC meds.

    Worked on the protype for the masonry stove/fireplace insert I want to use for heat this winter. Husband and son have NOT yet started complaining about the house being too cold, and the house was in the low 60’s this week! I don’t know why they are more comfortable than usual, but I’m happy for it. I suppose the fact that each of their desks has a space heater now helps.

    Fern

  4. Hummingbirdon 26 Oct 2008 at 10:40 am

    HI.

    Planted: Kale, as an experiment. Going to see how long I can keep it alive during the winter.

    Harvested: The last of the tomatoes and peppers. Gathered walnuts to see how many I can get shelled and dried. (This was a good year for walnuts, but I haven’t gathered them recently since I lost two teeth on a piece of shell left in the walnuts. I am going to be extra careful about separating them from the shells.)

    Stored: Rice cakes, matches, oatmeal, OTC medications.

    Prepped: Still working on splitting and putting up wood from the trees that blew down in our yard during summer windstorms. Installed 2 more rain barrels. Getting a metal roof installed this week that should last our lifetimes.

  5. AnnaMarieon 26 Oct 2008 at 10:50 am

    Planted Garlic, composting leaves, have wood stacked, made apple butter. I still have to make the sauerkraut and the applesauce but it’s all coming together. I’m making friends with the neighbors, getting back to baking and learning how to do it at low altitude after being in the mountains for years.

    I have what I need, prepped to the gills and at this point I wonder how far I need to take it. Can you over-prep?

  6. Genon 26 Oct 2008 at 11:05 am

    Just FYI–there is no such thing as overprepping. You can always use extras for bartering or sharing with those in need.
    Pulled up the last of the outside garden, and have the green tomatoes slowly ripening in the basement; after a couple of more weeks, there will be no more fresh tomatoes.
    The plum tree, which only produced 4 plums (ate my whole crop in one quick snack) last year, did much better this year, and I have made a couple of batches of plum jam, and a couple of peach-plum jam. It is great to have on hand for a quick holiday gift, and to go with the extra peanut butter we have on hand.
    I dried apples, and blanched and dried garden squash this fall. As stated earlier, things do take up a lot less room when dried.
    I do need to work on fuel alternatives for when the power is off, or just to help hold down energy costs, since we don’t have the wood option many of you seem to enjoy.
    Thanks, Sharon, for continuing to address a wide variety of subjects, and keeping them interesting, so that I actually finish the article before I doze off.

  7. Gracieon 26 Oct 2008 at 11:40 am

    Planted: More lettuce, spinach, beets, in cold frame, got the plexiglass for the 4 x 8 raised beds to make them into cold frames too, so more room for winter veggies.

    Harvested: the rest of the tomatoes that were left, both green and ripe. It’s supposed to freeze tonight or tomorrow night, so we pulled them up. The last of the basil. Still have a ton of carrots, although we’ve been pulling them, and eating them as we go along. I won’t harvest and can them. I’ll leave them in the ground and pull them all winter long. Same with the parsnips, we still have some in the ground, and they only get sweeter with cold weather, so we’ll cover them a bit and leave them. The last of the apples…seems like I’ve been canning apples forever now. Some pears that were given to us, will allow them to ripen a bit more and make pear butter from them.

    Preserved: 16 quarts of applesauce, five quarts of apple juice for jelly, which I’ll make sometime this week. More apple butter.

    Stored: More baby things, diapers, baby wash, wipes. More chicken stock. More material for quilting, more yarn for winter projects, more books.

    Prepped: raised beds for winter gardening. Cleaning yard as we go. New whistle to go in this week for hubby’s new garage out back, which will give me the current garage for more storage, and play room for the grandkids. Starting quilts for winter, and for something else to do as the garden winds down.

    Made something new: Well, not new, but I usually don’t make cheese soup until this time of year, it’s great when it gets cold.

    Managed my reserves….well, we eat out of our reserves, so we always have a turn over with them, but noticed this week I have some things, canned goods mostly that are getting close to dates, so need to make up stews and some baked goods, for freezing and canning, to use them before they are out of date.

  8. Heather Grayon 26 Oct 2008 at 1:04 pm

    1. Planted something: Garlic, onions

    2. Harvested something: dried green beans (some type of pole bean, the seeds are white), parsnips, carrots, rutabagas,

    3. Preserved something: Making applesauce, already made some pumpkin soup (frozen, I’m out of time for canning this year).

    4. Stored something: pumpkins, harvested stuff mentioned above, some canned goods, super wash soda (going to learn to make laundry detergent this winter), winter apples (Northern Spy), some of the sunflower seeds are now in their own container (a former pretzel container), small storage cabbages (just right size for recipes!), butternut and buttercup squashes

    5. Prepped something: winterized half the windows in the apt (also keeps the asian lady beetles from coming indoors)

    6. Cooked something new: Pumpkin soup. Also found a recipe for apple pumpkin soup that sounds interesting, and got the link to a savory pie I want to make (a squash pie that’s more of a meal than a dessert item)

    7. Worked on community food systems – not really, unless I can count shopping at the farmers market and chatting with the other food producers…

    8. Managed my reserves – checked dates on some of the canned goods, getting some lined up for use this or next month.

    9. Learned a new skill – nope

  9. Kation 26 Oct 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Well, Planting and Harvesting are long done around here, unfortunately. As is composting, really. (VERY unfortunately, that, as I’m still producing compostable garbage, but have no where to put it this time of year.)

    Tended something: using potatoes and apples, inspecting as I go. Not tending anything outside as it’s all buried under several inches of snow by now and nights have gotten down to -15 the past couple of days. (+20, during the day.)

    Preserved something: Cut up the last 2 of our cabbages for sauerkraut. I’ve got the kraut-in-progress in a large jar in the fridge. Haven’t yet canned it.

    Make Preps: stocking up on canned & dried goods, rotating goods. Bought multi-vites and extra tylenol at the store. Bought more sock yarn as well. *wink*

    Cook Something from Scratch: made borcht for the first time. I knew I liked the stuff, but DD and DH had never had it. They were both pleasantly surprised as well. Used the few, tiny beets that grew in my veggie bed this summer, as well as 4 much larger beets from the grocery store. Also had to use primarily grocery-purchased veggies, though 1/2 of one of our cabbages was also used. I also made Labane for the first time. We were having the inlaws over for a Wisconsin Cheese & Brat dinner last night (my mom sent a box of wisconsin cheeses when she was there a couple of weeks ago, insisting that we share them with the inlaws who are FROM wisconsin, and that’s where Hubby was born). I decided that all the cheeses were semi-firm or firm cheeses, so I’d make some soft cheese to go along. Also used store-bought (though, organic at least) yogurt and garlic and herbs. I love it (have had it before, thanks to a friend) and DH was very pleasantly surprised when he tried it. DD also loves it. The inlaws refused to try it. (I guess homemade cheese is just too unusual for them. *rolling eyes*You’d think the fact that they both grew up in farming families….. *sigh*)

    Managed Reserves: constant use and restocking of canned goods, and dried goods, as well as potatoes, apples, etc. Also working on rearranging goods in cabinets, and moving my yarn and fabric stashes into better organized storage.

    Work on/Toward local food systems: short of buying a butchered cow or pig, all local food systems are pretty well shut down for the year, here.

    Compost Something: Nope. See above.

    Learn a New Skill: making labane and borscht! YUM!

  10. Shambaon 26 Oct 2008 at 2:43 pm

    The only thing I’ve done lately is add to stores.

    My store had 10 cans for 10 bucks for everything it seemed tha it had in cans and jam and peanut butter. So, I stocked up on fruit, peas, corn, green beans and several jars of jam that were also marked way down. Then I realized I needed to move the canned stuff I have so the older stuff was in the front of the shelves!

    The Linens n Things near me hasn’t had liquidation prices until this past week so I’ve been there every couple of days looking for bargains and looking for a couple of friends of mine as well. There are still better bargains to be had yet. One friend wants an apple-corer-peeler, who I never thought would be interested in apple-coring-peeling. Surprise!

    My bulk things have not gone down as much as I thought they would, but that trip is next week after payday.

    I did try a new soup recipe this past week that I’d had for a long time–it was a nice vegetable soup but not that much different from most other vegetable soups …

    I got a nice little plastic table and a couple of plant pots from a neighbor who is moving. Also, got some cat food dishes and litter. I’m sad to see her go, she’s been a good neighbor, has a lot of sense and fed my cats when I’m away for a few days.

    The upshot of all this is that, since last winter I have more food and stores of necessities in my house than I have had in literally 10 years. And, even better, I now know what to do with the unprocessed, unpackaged stuff and can do a lot of it comfortably. :)

    thanks for your blog, Sharon and others that I get to sometimes,

    peace to all of you,
    Shamba

  11. Chileon 26 Oct 2008 at 3:03 pm

    So, I’m assuming this update is for more than just the past week. Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve reported so this spans a month or so.

    1. Planted something: I’itoi (green) onions – heritage, kale, collards, broccoli, salad greens.

    2. Harvested something: pomegranates (from friend’s tree), sorghum, CSA share (does that count?)

    3. Preserved something: Made pomegranate jelly & syrup, dehydrated the seeds & ground them for Indian chutney, made pomegranate liqueur with leftover dried (& juiced) seed chunks after sifting for the chutney. Made cherry liqeuer. Started cherry pit-cacao nibs liqueur. *burp*

    4. Stored something: Cleaned & stored CSA local wheat. Added pasta & canned vegetables to storage.

    5. Prepped something: Bought Coleman lantern at yard sale, cleaned it up, got globe & mantels for it. Stored lantern fuel. Cut up pruned mesquite branch for firewood (once we get moved and have a way to burn it!) Cleaned out summer garden and organized yard. Bought at thrift store/yard sales: more canning jars, bottles for liqueur storage, extra set of sheets, extra pillows, a few books.

    6. Cooked something new: Pomegranate products were all new. I cook something new regularly because I often throw our meals together with whatever is ripe from the CSA.

    7. Worked on community food systems – talked with Food Bank volunteer this week about food security, volunteered with CSA, began new food log blog to help show people what a vegan diet might look like.

    8. Managed my reserves – working on cleaning out older stuff from the fridge and odds/ends from the kitchen pantry. Tried out some of the dehydrated foods to see how they rehydrate and taste.

    9. Learned a new skill – CPR, AED, and first aid training. Intro to self-defense, with plans to take Krav Maga classes soon.

  12. Shiraon 26 Oct 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Hee, hee, it’s inspiring just to read whatall folks are up to..

    This has definitely helped me to get organized. I am getting more projects done. I also find that that I am hitting the Kingsolver Limit. That’s when the legendary Barbara Kingsolver declared that it felt like she had taken on a part time job in addition to her day job. One day this month I caught up on the books for someone else’s small business, helped take care of my friend’s goats, gleaned tomatoes in my garden and pulled up and composted the spent squash vines, made yogurt, canned the hot sauce that had been sitting in the big kettle in the fridge for days, made dinner, gave away bok choi, and collapsed to watch videos, feeling fair knackered.

    Crop failure report: OK, total failure of the tea plants to start from seed. So I’ll have to layer my tea bush (from seed a few years back) for starts for people who ordered them. And try again next spring. I cracked the seed as instructed. Last time, I laboriously scarified the big seeds with sandpaper and it worked better. Parsnips appear to have vanished.

    Planted garlic, oats, favas, bull’s blood beets and bok choi in the cleaned out rows of the summer garden. I still have the other half to clear out. Gleaned the tomatoes. A few tomatillos and cherry tomatoes are left, if they survived last night’s frost. Started a half gallon of hard cider with my own apples and champagne yeast; today I rack it. Baked Norwegian hard tack from oats, barley and a little wheat flour. It bakes up hard alright. I can see how they could bake a whole winter’s worth and store it in a chest.

    New skill: Putting goats in a pickup truck.

    Shira in Bellingham, WA

  13. Anion 26 Oct 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Planted- garlic

    Harvested- horseradish, apples,hot peppers and the last of the tomatoes, tomatillos and eggplants, finished threshing the dry beans and bags of mint leaves

    Preserved- Sun-dried tomatoes, strung some hot peppers and paparika peppers to dry

    Prepped- getting kindling for wood stove cut up, plasticed windows,did caulking of storms and weatherstripped doors, repaired and rehung barn door(yay-finally!)

    Stored- coffee, chocolate, peanut butter and olive oil -all on sale so…. :-)

    Learning new skill- am making a flat-bow from a tree harvested from my land- will use it for target practice but never know when it will come in handy-besides, I love archery……

  14. Karinon 26 Oct 2008 at 6:53 pm

    I’ve been posting weekly on my blog. It has been keeping honest and keeps me on track with the IDC Challenge.

    Planted: The last of the garlic. 150 blbs. That is 50 more than planted last year and most of it was from seed of last years crop. Transplanted rhubarb. Divided yellow Irises.

    harvested: The last of the carrots. Piggie. kale

    preserved: 7 quarts of carrots to be used for soup. Apple butter.

    prepped: stored olive oil, honey, peanut butter, udon noodles, tea. I found some canning jars and long johns for the wee one at the Goodwill.

    managed reserves: mulching much of the garden, sweeping the many spider webs that have inhabited the tall spaces of my home.

    reduced waste: I must sing the praises of the mighty worm and the wonderful colony living in the bin in my bathroom. I will not have to gather wandering food scraps from around the compost bin after the spring thaw.

    Local food. A new friend has given me a bushel of beets. I have been sharing them with some people and will can the rest. All of our meals are from our own efforts in the garden or from food preservation.

    cooked something new: kefir

    learned something new: I am learning to write small book reviews for work.

  15. risa stephanie bearon 26 Oct 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Independence Days, last week of October.

    Plant Something: fava beans

    Harvest Something — Brandywine, Roma tomatoes; globe and Japanese eggplant, Detroit Red beets, green and yellow zukes, English cukes, Yukon Gold and red potatoes, sunchokes, chicken and duck eggs, Egyptian onions. picked the last apples from the last tree. Pumpkins and a paltry few Hubbard squash.

    Preserve Something: shelled 3 kinds of beans and put up seven quarts of tomato puree. Boiling water bath, but it’s been so long since I did this that I underestimated the boil and only three sealed. So the other four I popped into the freezer.

    Store Something: potatoes, dry beans.

    Manage Reserves: am about 1/2 way through the resurrection of the spare well. Flushed it out today by running a garden hose down and blasting around with it, filling up the well to overflow for awhile. Ready for new pipe.

    Cooked Something New: apple/beet casserole.

    Worked on Local Food Systems: Much of the above, and selling eggs. Gave away two copies of Sharon’s book.

    Reduced Waste: gathering cardboard and newspapers. Took sunflower and sunchoke stems to the poultry for them to have the leaves, and ground up all other summer-garden waste for the compost heaps. Cleaned the barn and put the chicken manure on next year’s beds.

    Learned a Skill: how to pull thirty-feet of jet-pump pipe out of a well, unassisted!

  16. robj98168on 26 Oct 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Plant something: Nope
    Prep something: Made and froze some more pumpkin puree- dehydrated some apple rings. Made some banana chips.
    Harvest something: nothing more than a few beans
    Manage something: Started putting garage in order
    Cook Something New: Tried some Tomato Chutney ( I have of unfounded fear of anything with the name “chutney”) on Millet Bread spread with Cream Cheese to qoute Paris Hilton- “Loves it”- and found a Corn Chowder recipe that I doctored up-
    Rob’s Corn Chowder Recipe
    1/2 cup diced bacon or ½ cup diced soy bacon
    Three garlic cloves- minced
    4 medium potatoes, chopped
    1/2 medium onion, chopped
    2 cups chicken stock or broth
    1 can cream-style corn, 2 (12 ounces each) cans or 1 pound, 4 ounce package frozen
    1 can regular corn- or 1 package frozen corn
    2 teaspoons salt
    pepper to taste
    2 cups half-and-half or light cream, scalded
    Preparation:
    Sauté bacon until browned and crisp; add chopped potatoes and onions and garlic. Add stock, corn, and seasonings; cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in half-and-half; heat through but do not boil. You can substitute regular frozen corn for the cream corn. Serves 4.

    Work on Local Food Systems: bought some Honey Crisp apples and bananas from the green grocer
    Re-Cycle, Re-Use, Re-Duce, Repair or Compost something: Sunflower stalks, raked up some leaves: put on compost bin, Gave the worms in worm bin a bad apple, Took a Pig Shaped cutting board my mom had (she collects these!) and routed it out to put a clock work in so she can hand it up with the other pigs in her kitchen, for Christmas, And I recovered an old headboard for her for Christmas as well. Fixed the lock on the back door.
    Learn a skill: Nope

  17. [...] Casaubon’s Book » Blog Archive » Independence Days Update: Focus on End of Season Food Preservat… It has been a while since I’ve done an Independence Days update – seems like a good time. For those of you who are new readers and don’t know what this is, you might check out the “Independence Days” topic on the sidebar of the blog. We’re working on doing just a little bit every day to grow and preserve food, and also preserve our security. [...]

  18. margareton 26 Oct 2008 at 8:42 pm

    1. Planted something: Garlic, transplanted some aloe.

    2. Harvested something: collards, kale

    3. Preserved something: Made applesauce, froze some collards (then found out I could’ve left them in the garden a bit longer (doh!)

    4. Stored something: Added some pasta, matches, canned fruit, canned applesauce. Ordered oats, nutritional yeast, popcorn. Stored a bit more water.

    5. Prepped something: Ordered space blankets (I hope to use these in window quilts), put up plastic over windows. Bought some early Christmas presents.

    6. Cooked something new: spicy collard and black-eye pea soup.

    7. Worked on community food systems – gave a friend some planting garlic.

    8. Managed my reserves – started setting up my squash, apple, root crop storage.

    9. Learned a new skill – made applesauce for the first time, cut and folded my box spring to move it upstairs.

  19. Ginaon 27 Oct 2008 at 12:37 am

    Sharon,

    I am always wistful when I read your posts referencing the cool weather. It is still typically over 90 degrees here (global warming anybody?) and I long for a change of season. That said, at least we certainly don’t ever have to worry about freezing and I think that there is a good chance we will have strawberries year-round.

    This is my first time joining the independence days:

    1. Planted something:

    Parsnips

    2. Harvested something:

    Tomatoes, Bell Pepper, Carrots, Parsely, Strawberries, Raspberries (from our garden)
    80 lbs of Apples! (from a local organic u-pick)

    3. Preserved something:

    Applesauce (7 pints)

    4. Stored something:

    Canning Jars, Bands, and Lids
    Pectin
    Canned Mandrin Oranges
    Canned Peaches
    Canned Garbanzo Beans

    5. Prepped something:

    Started a list of “things to purchase/acquire” that might not always be readily available (e.g., canning supplies, rechargeable batteries)

    6. Cooked something new:

    Can’t think of anything.

    7. Worked on community food systems:

    Invited everyone we know for the local apple picking. A few friends were able to join us.

    8. Managed my reserves:

    Noticed we were low on dried black beans and made sure to pick some up.

    9. Learned a new skill:

    Been working on it for awhile but have finally perfected the right cooking technique for cooking dried beans.

  20. karenon 27 Oct 2008 at 6:35 am

    I haven’t done an I Days update in ages. Here is mine:
    Prepped: Bought from thrift store and sent up to home in N Maine: Kitchen stuff, winter jackets, blankets, pillows, 3 months worth of food, canning jars, lids, furniture.
    Here in Wash D.C.:
    Planted something: garlic, shallots, (kale, kohlrabi few weeks ago)
    Harvested: herbs rosemary, thyme, terragon, savory, lemon grass, carrots, squash, peppers, eggplant,okra (little bit) last of the green tomatoes
    Bought: books, all kinds, gardening, homesteading, history, medical, light reading, science, classics, smaller grain mill and extra parts for all the mills.
    More food for long term storage, buckets, mylar bags, o2 absorbers, gardening tools, vitamins. Bought at farmers market: lots of cool looking funky squashes for food stores and added benefit of decorations in kit.
    Cooked something new: used up all green tomatoes by inserting a little bit into all kinds of meals (no one knew).

    Organized food stores in basement.
    Mulched beds and paths. Moved one compost pile right into gardening bed.
    Have been having a devil of a time getting rid of mice or voles that have moved into our compost pile at our garden plot. If it was at our house, I would get a cat but we cant do that at a public park. I have put our the snap traps with peanut butter but they are just snapped with no mice and all the food is gone. I have also put out sticky traps but that just gets the birds. Oh well
    Karen

  21. N.on 27 Oct 2008 at 6:49 am

    We aren’t formally participating in the independence days challenge We moved halfway through the years. We left our crops behind and between the move and new jobs we didn’t get anything else going. All is not lost though

    Cooked something new- chipotle chicken burritos and gingerbread. Now that we are both working full time (and for J this means 7 days a week) I’m making 2 or 3 meals on the weekend as well as baking something for all of our lunches and dinners. This means we still eat homemade and healthy without having to try and make something at the end of a long day.

    Managed my reserves- we have slowly started stockpiling. I’m purchasing small amounts each week trying to focus on things on sale. We’ve added more oats and beans so far.

    Organized- my clothes closet, sorting out and donating clothes I no longer wear.

  22. MEAon 27 Oct 2008 at 8:01 am

    1) Planted — yep, you guess it — garlic
    2) Harvested snow beans and bean, as well as greens and the last 3 raspberries. And three huge hens of the woods from my neighbor’s oak trees.
    3) Preserved what seemed like tons of green by steaming them then freezing them. Cooked down the hens of the woods.
    4) Stored apples
    5) Prep got rid of dent in bottom of split water barrel prior to sealing it with marine sealer and some point before the next centures. Got one spout redirected away from water barrell prior to empting barrell reall soon now.
    6) cooked veg stew with water left over from steaming greens. Being British and miserable, we just the drink the stuff, which tasted pretty vile, but I was doing the greens at my mothers while trying to make dinner for them and sorting a vaste amount of stuff from the CSA and supervise my younger daughter bake a cake and I just forgot to tip the liquid out before beginning to cut the veg in (I also cut in and had to fish out a French breakfast radish which I mistook for a parsnip).
    7 — nil
    8 Managed — after a grand sort through and wash of all the surplices at church took the ones that would not come clean, and cut them up for lining for MCC bags.
    9 I leaned how to split fire wood! I re-learned how many muscles I don’t use every day

    MEA

  23. bridgeton 27 Oct 2008 at 8:55 am

    Planted something: n/a

    Harvested something: Pulling out the community garden, so ripe tomatoes, green tomatoes, green beans, beets, basil

    Preserved: Green tomato mincemeat, green tomato hot dog relish, apple sauce, apple chunks in water, dehydrating tomatoes

    Stored: Oils, sugar, canning jars (although I hope to fill every last one), yeast

    Cooked something new: Apple butter pie. It was a minor disaster, but tasted good.

    Managed reserves: Putting the bags of spices into glass or plastic containers. And marking them clearly.

    Community food systems: n/a. Really want to get to the last local farmer’s market this Friday

    Learned a new skill: n/a

    GOALS FOR THIS WEEK: Put up all the produce in my kitchen before it spoils (about 4 paper boxes full). Pull food from the overflowing freezer. (It’s ridiculous, really.)

  24. Gailon 27 Oct 2008 at 9:11 am

    Hello from Colorado

    Planted spinach and lettuce to put in the cold frame. Raked leaves into the garden for sheet mulching, need to get manure to top off. The chickens have mostly stopped laying, but there have been a few eggs. The kale is as good as ever. I am going to leave the turnips, beets and kale in the garden covered with leaves for greens for the chickens over the winter. Depending on the cold snaps we might be good until Jan. Purchased more beans, 25# of oatmeal, more peanut butter, some raisins. Bought some plums hoping to dry them, but they are so good we have just been eating them. Step by step plans for a kitchen downstairs. and a real rental, are coming to pass. The rent money is funding this. Thank you DP. Another daughter pregnant! Hopes and fears there. I made diapers out of old flannel sheets for little Ethan and bought a crib and a stroller for his Christmas visit to Grandma’s house.

  25. MEAon 27 Oct 2008 at 9:51 am

    Hi, Kati.

    I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but I’ve always just on tossing food scaps on the compost over the snow (works in NJ — might note in North Canada). I’ve also heard of people who keep a bin outside the backdoor, fill it as they go and them tip it onto the heap come spring.

    Best,

    MEA

  26. Devin Quinceon 27 Oct 2008 at 10:38 am

    Not part of the Independence challenge, but we build a cold frame this weekend for some of our peppers and eggplants just to see if we can keep them going for a bit longer. On the power outage line, last night we had high winds and lost power for only a few seconds, but it is coming.

  27. Chileon 27 Oct 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Shira – was that putting a goat in the back of a pick-up truck or inside? I only ask because I once put the neighbor’s goat inside the cab of a pick-up, behind the seats. She’d gotten loose and I couldn’t figure out how to get her up into the bed. I wish I’d had a camera to show how funny it looked. Thank goodness she was a nice goat…

  28. Rosaon 27 Oct 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Urgh. I spent half an hour last night picking worms out of the raisins & putting the raisins into glass jars – I think they were asian mealmoth larvae, we keep getting those, but I didn’t think they’d go after anything as dense as raisins :(

    They didn’t touch the dried apricots, peaches, craisins, or currants, but it might just be that those were all newer. All in plastic baggies in one big metal tin. I don’t bake in the summer, so I hadn’t touched the tin much until this week (we keep a bag of eating raisins out in the shelf, separate.)

    Also, my potato crop was a pretty pure failure. I think it needed two things – more watering, and to be closer to the house where I will remember to water them. This summer they were out at the end of the driveway for more light, but then I never watered them because they were outside the fence. Next summer we’ll do better. There were lots of very tiny potatos (like, smaller than a fingertip) but we got our first snow so I figured I better harvest them. Got about five big potatos – less than what I planted.

    The good news is, i am completely done putting up apples. Every single apple in my house is either a pristine, washed, eating apple (mostly Firesides & some Honeycrisps) or is dried, made into apple butter and canned, or made into apple crisp or apple cake. EVERY ONE. All I have left is the bag of pears – maybe I will get them poached & canned tonight.

  29. Kation 27 Oct 2008 at 1:54 pm

    MEA: Thanks. I’m in the Fairbanks area of Alaska. Last winter I did toss most everything in a bucket by the back door for most of the winter. Then, come spring, everything went into my brand-new compost heap. This year, there was so much in my compost bin that DIDN’T compost, that I’m kinda grumbly about it at the moment. And, unless we get a thaw that allows me to dump the stuff out of my bucket (which didn’t get done before winter hit), I don’t know that I’ll be able to dump the stuff out of the bucket at all. (It appears frozen in place.) Which means, little to no composting this winter. *sigh*

    Thank you for the suggestions, though!!!

  30. Veganon 27 Oct 2008 at 3:49 pm

    This weekend I packed 100 lbs. of organic rolled oats in 6 gal. plastic containers. I used mylar bags, gamma seal lids and oxygen absorbers for the first time.

    Sharon, thank you for your great work. I wouldn’t have done it without your encouragement.

  31. Roberton 27 Oct 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Canned several fruits and vegtables for the first time. Put compost on garden. Planning for next year. Still picking herbs and some things like carrots.

  32. Deb Gon 27 Oct 2008 at 8:58 pm

    I’ve been doing a lot of the same stuff as everyone else (garlic, apples, kale, beets and pears…). The two new things I’ve tried that were different were making high bush cranberry ketchup and rose hip jam. The high bush cranberry (not related to cranberries, it’s a viburnum if I remember rightly) ketchup seems best cooked on something. The rose hip jam is good. It’s supposed to be good for sore throats, so I’m going to try saving it. One thing I learned, I won’t follow any direction for working with rose hips that calls for picking the seeds out before processing. Much easier to cook the rose hips and then strain the puree out.

  33. NMon 28 Oct 2008 at 11:32 am

    Stored: 100 pounds of locally grown organic bread wheat; very excited about that. Also stocked up a bit on organic peanut butter, made in state, although I don’t know where they get the peanuts from. And there’s quite a bit of squash in the garage.
    Started baking bread again.
    Work on local food systems: Joined a year-long certified organic CSA, so next summer, I’ll use my own garden to concentrate on growing things they don’t grow, and things I’ll want in preserving quantities. Also continuing to work with my local Slow Food chapter on a variety of projects.
    Planted: golden beets, chard, spinach, kale and brussels sprouts, although it’s very late to plant them, and they’ve been languishing in tiny pots for a month, so it’s hard to say how well they’ll do. Bought a lime tree and a tart cherry tree to replace the cherry that died this summer; they are still waiting to be planted.
    Harvested; 4 whole quince from my little tree, that are beautifully fragrant. Apples, from our tree, that we’ll press for cider this weekend. Tomatoes and green tomatoes, acorn squash, lemon cucumbers and basil from the garden. Plums from a friend’s farm. Several kinds of produce from u-pick farm.
    DH, who had to work out in the field at various locations around the state all last month brought me pounds and pounds of prune plums and elderberries that he’d found and picked. Isn’t he sweet?! I sent him away with a big cooler full of meals; he brought it back full of fruit. Thought I’d never finish processing it all (and couldn’t get to all the plums in time, sadly), but it was lovely to have.
    Preserved: Four gallons of prunes.(!) Dried elderberries, dried blueberries, tomatoes and peppers. Canned: tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, roasted red pepper spread, pickle relish that I accidentally salted twice, so it’s seriously salty; medicinal elderberry syrup; elderberry jelly, elderberry jelly variations with apples and grapes; brandied peaches, plum jam, pickles, Froze: roasted vegetables, peppers, blackberries, ratatouille, mirepoix, basil cubes, pesto, strawberries, strawberry sauce, peach cobbler. Made salted basil — thank you to whoever suggested that on this blog in earlier comments; it’s wonderful! I’ve been telling everyone I know about it.
    Plum liqueur, blackberry liqueur, vanilla extract, vanilla sugar. Still planning to make elderberry liqueur from berries I put in the freezer until I could find time to deal with them.
    Still have to finish dealing with the tomatoes and green tomatoes, and I haven’t given up hope of finding some pears to can with vanilla and spices.
    Learned something: well, it’s not a skill, exactly, but I learned to use baking soda to wash my hair, instead of shampoo. Followed by honey on hair and face, then a (very diluted) vinegar rinse. Saves money and plastic bottles, and my hair has never been so soft and manageable (if you try this, one site I read warned, don’t use too much. No more than a couple tablespoons at most — for long hair. One for short.). Earlier in the year, I’d already learned to replace toothpaste with baking soda — plain, or in a mixture I make up; seems to be no end of uses for baking soda.
    Also, learned to grow celery, for the first time this year. Red celery! I’d never heard of it. Lovely stuff; will be growing it from now on.
    Learned to cook something new: mirepoix! Had to do something to preserve the celery crop.
    Also discovered that adding some lemon juice to blanched kale makes it a great substitute for chard in calzone. Not that kale isn’t lovely on its own, but it’s even better with the lemon juice.
    I’ve never preserved so much before. My freezer is so full that I cannot cram in another item, although defrosting it would make a bit more room. Just as soon as I find the time. And there are stacks of jars of canned food in the kitchen I need to find a place to put. I’m sure we could live very comfortably for a couple of months on just what I’ve stored and preserved, and probably for quite a while longer. Since my job may be in jeopardy in coming months, it’s a good feeling to know that. Been trying to be more mindful and frugal with what I have — peeling the zest from the lemons after using the juice and dropping it into vodka to make liqueur; turning vegetable scraps into soup stock. Made apple bread pudding from odds and ends of bread and stale muffins last night. Also hope to begin making my own vinegar soon from cider pomace, and ends of wine bottles.
    Thank you for all the inspiration and information.

  34. Shiraon 28 Oct 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Hi Chile, that was a goat in the back of a small pickup, under the canopy. For public record, the steps are: have everything ready before releasing the goat, including an old blanket in the truck bed, keep the goat under positive control at all times, push goat’s behind up the ramp, and tie off the goat inside the bed with a very short lead. Then drive carefully, making wide turns.

    NM, I love your lemon vodka. Have to try that.

    Shira in Bellingham, WA

  35. Lanceon 28 Oct 2008 at 12:29 pm

    I live in a little dump of a rented apartment, but am doing what I can. Stored a week’s worth of water in old coke liter bottles. Made my first-ever test batch of homemade sauerkraut. Got two meals out of it and two jars of the live stuff plus juice I am keeping in the fridge (hope to try making kimchee this week). Ordered the equipment and culture to make kombucha. Getting very interested in fermentation of all kinds…the kombucha and kimchee are next, now that I feel some confidence built from my sauerkraut success. Starting to buy an extra can of food here and there whenever I go by the store, and stashing it away. Making plans to get gradually off my medicine for blood pressure (they had prescribed beta-blockers which was overkill since my blood pressure was mainly due to being overweight and stressed in my old job) so I won’t be in a real bad place if it hits the fan (plus it makes me feel real low-energy). Continuing my study of wildcrafting of local weeds and herbs. Some of Buhner’s herbal tonics and beers in “Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers” look worth trying to make in my new fermentation hobby. Started a new home business with pretty much no overhead and side-benefits to health gained by walking: a ghost walk in town which is popular this month but should still bring in a couple bucks now and then; going to see what else my developing storytelling skills can do to bring in some quarters. Also– ta da!– graduated the Lucky Mojo hoodoo correspondence course and continuing my druidry studies under JMG over at AODA — lots of useful magico-religious stuff for an old man’s uncertain future.

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