Tuesday, July 2, 2013

And the preparing begins

One of our goals is the be able to provide most if not all our food. Around here there are your token small town grocery stores and then there is the big 'W' which I will not shop. So if you want good quality food you either have to grow it yourself or drive an hour or more to get it.

We have milk, and meat, and soon our own eggs (right now we trade a neighbor), and a good deal of produce. Now the trick is making it so it will last through the winter.

Growing up my parents had a huge garden. I can remember many days my mom in a hot kitchen preparing veggies for the freezer. I also remember every night going down to the freezer in the basement to pick out a package of vegetables for dinner. My parents had 2 1/2 acres and probably had about a half acre planted. We are nowhere close to having the garden I had growing up but we are getting close.

So after all the work planting, weeding, watering, the harvesting has begun. Yesterday I cut my garlic scapes, and today I plan on pickling them. The most important thing about gardening is to know your limits. One year I thought we should grow strawberries, I like to have at least 50 pounds in the freezer for winter so why not plant a patch. The idea was a good one, but the labor involved was too much, I decided I would rather pay and pick. This year I was able to pick at a friend's place. After getting some in the freezer I made jam, pie, and shortcake. I wondered if you could get sick of strawberries, but the kids and the husband are still going strong.
Garlic scapes
 A few years ago I put out the call for pie plates, and many friends gave me there no longer needed plates. I think I have 30 or so plates. What I like to do is pre-make the pie (don't bake) freeze it for winter. Right now we have 5 strawberry/rhubarb pies waiting for snowfall. Soon there will be blueberry pies, apple, and lots of squash pie. Then when ready to bake I put the frozen pie into an unheated oven, set the temp and in no time at all you have a great fresh pie waiting to be eaten!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I love strawberry picking, I remember going as a kid. I am not sure how many pounds we would pick but my mom would take both my sister and I along for help. Then that night she would make strawberry shortcake for dinner. It was amazing! After my big harvest I hulled them, did chores and went to bed. The next morning I was up early making strawberry and strawberry rhubarb jam.

Making Jam
I often get questions about making jam and jelly. The main question being; can you make it without all that sugar? There is more sugar then fruit in some of those recipes. Well the answer is yes, instead of the grocery store pectin head over to a health food store and get Pomona's Pectin. My mom used it and now I use it. The great thing about it, besides how little sugar you need to use, is you can use alternative sugars. This year I made jam using honey.

Strawberry and Strawberry Rhubarb Jam (made with honey)

Happy harvesting!


Alison said...

It won't be long and you'll be growing all the food you guys need. My Great Uncle had 2 huge gardens, one in town and one at their cabin. I don't know how he took care of so much, but he did it well into his 90's.

You jams and pie look great. Makes me hate my allergies...hehe!

Duskwind Farm said...

Wow that is amazing! Soon enough I will figure out all that we need and all the space it takes to grow it.

The kids and I went strawberry picking again today. Just took 2 more pies out of the oven! Wish you could enjoy them too.