How long to ration summer and fall crops?
There are two schools of
thought on eking out summer and fall crops into the winter. School one
says that a homegrown tomato is better than a storebought tomato even
when picked green, and you might as well ration your storage vegetables
too so you have at least something fresh in February. I started out with this school of thought and managed to eat homegrown, raw tomatoes on Thanksgiving one year and carrots well into the spring. (Both tasted worse than store-bought near the end.)
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School two says that it's
best to eat homegrown food while it's fresh. Pick a few turning peppers
and tomatoes just before the frost, but only enough that they'll be
thoroughly consumed by Halloween. Then hit your storage crops hard in
November and December so you get to enjoy carrots and cabbages at their
peak. I'm coming around to this school of thought and have been serving
lots of storage vegetables and garden-fresh greens this fall while
pulling nearly nothing out of the freezer.
Of course, the real
deciding factor in our meals at the moment is using up stock. I've been
socking the precious liquid away all summer, and two more gallons from
the Thanksgiving turkey means we really need to expand our soup
repertoire. Butternut, bacon, and turkey was a delight and scarlet
runner bean, corn, and sweet pepper perked up even my non-bean-eating
husband. What's next?