The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Freezin' season

Cooking soup

It's now officially freezin' season!  The tomato crop is far smaller than I'd hoped for, but enough fruits are coming in to produce one or two big pots of soup per week, most of which ends up as winter meals.  And, as if to make up for the moderate tomato harvest, the green beans are extremely prolific this year, allowing me to freeze half a gallon at a time once or twice a week.  Add that on top of this spring's bountiful broccoli, plus the stir fry I'm experimentally freezing, and we've already got 8.5 gallons of winter vegetables socked away in the deep freeze (along with a bunch of homegrown and purchased meat).

Freezing green beans

Whenever I write about our winter stores, commenters always ask about our frozen-food goal for the year.  I'd post a link to my previously written answer, but we're constantly tweaking our diet to include more fresh produce even in the winter months, and are also streamlining non-fresh winter stores to include only the foods that taste best frozen and rethawed.  Last year, we had barely enough winter stores from 6.75 gallons of green beans, 11.25 gallons of vegetable soup, 0.6 gallons of sweet corn, and 0.25 gallons of tomatoes --- just shy of 19 gallons of vegetables total.  Since we plan to stock up on the same amount of storage vegetables (onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, carrots, cabbages, and butternut squash) and to continue pushing the weather boundaries with brussels sprouts, kale, and lettuce under quick hoops, twenty gallons in the freezer should do us this year as well.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Do you guys have plans if there is ever an event where you wouldn't have the ability to store your foods frozen? I'm very curious on what you think on the matters that would make that so. Maybe you could do a post about it?

Comment by Anonymous Sat Jul 26 12:41:37 2014

Anonymous --- If there's one thing I've learned from our time on the farm so far, it's that our lives and the world are constantly changing, and you can't spend your time worrying about an unknown future. Instead, we build our infrastructure to match what works so far, and have backup plans (canning equipment) in case there's such an extended power outage that our little generator can't keep the freezer going.

I figure if electricity went away permanently, we'd have a lot of other issues to worry about besides keeping our frozen food safe, so we don't plan for that scenario any more than for the dozens of other possible apocalyptic scenarios. In addition, since the freezer food is only about a third of our winter diet, we could always change gears within a year to focus more on the other winter food options. But there's no reason to go there now since we enjoy the quality of the frozen vegetables and the electricity cost is minimal.

Comment by anna Sat Jul 26 13:21:39 2014

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