Panic in the Kitchen
How did it get to be November?
I should have canned more tomatoes. I don’t have enough vegetables frozen. I don’t even know how much “enough” is. Aarrgghh!
Okay, done whining.
When Barbara Kingsolver began her eating local journey, she started in the spring. I still remember thinking, “that’s the dumbest time ever; nothing is growing and you have nothing stored.”
Well, starting in October is equally… okay, it’s probably worse. Great in theory. Except that every single will-be-dead-in-a-month food you preserve takes (fleeting) time, and uses up (diminishing) space.
Okay, really done whining now.
Putting Things By – Fruit (The Good News)
Fortunately, I at least had the presence of mind to put away fruit all summer. One of my CSAs is a master of sourcing and hits up regional and local farms for peaches, blueberries, apples and cranberries. Freezing fruit is almost a habit after years of buying through them for winter. I even froze 1 ½ gallons of backyard raspberries, along with ½ gallon of mulberries in our first ever mulberry crop.
And this year, my regular apple cider guy sold applesauce by the gallon. I added cinnamon & honey, heated, then canned sixty 4-ounce jars for lunch fruit when fresh apples run out. Now, I just need to figure out recipes that work with frozen (or canned) fruit over the winter. At least I like to cook.
Putting Things By – Vegetables
The vegetable front is not nearly as rosy. My stores have not accumulated well, perhaps because we have been dipping into what used to became winter stores. Yup, on a tough day when I might have popped a frozen pizza in the oven, now it’s a baked potato with broccoli or a quiche.
As I try to guess at, err, calculate what I need for winter, I know I am perilously low on canned tomatoes. I’ve already told my husband I am rationing pickles to get him to summer. But I just got a case of red cabbage and there are a couple CSA boxes yet to come.
On the saddest note, my call to a local pumpkin grower came exactly one day after he plowed under the last of his pepita pumpkins. Scratch pepita granola this winter. I do have some black walnuts (stay tuned for “Gone A-Nuttin’”).
It’s clear I’m going to need friends with greenhouses to survive winter. And I now completely understand why they wrote so many books about the industrious country mouse.
But we made a couple very positive “finds” in the past week!
On a business trip, my husband went out to a Woodman’s Grocery store and came back with snacks made in Wisconsin—chips, ham sticks and root beer. Can’t wait to check Woodman’s out locally.
Next, cream and butter are tough to get off the farm, but found Wisconsin butter at a beef farm store. Finally, this morning I went on a tour of a “rice experiment” (full story, next post!) and came back with a cup of local brown rice. So excited about the venture and can’t wait to try the rice!
Sometimes it’s the little things!