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

How long to ration summer and fall crops?

December ingredients

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.)

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?

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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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Any kind of chili uses up that stock, and carrots and greens get thrown into ours along with the usual ingredients. Another favorite is chowder, usually corn chowder with butter, potatoes,corn, onions, celery, and I toss in kale and maybe a carrot or two , or some butternut. But just roasted root veggies with a little butter and stock is one of our favorites. I still have ripening tomatoes down cellar, though it has been hard for me to check them the last week after knee replacement. They have been suprisingly resiliant. I do need to see of I can hobble out to pick kale... sadly some of the fall harvest fell to the wayside with my disability.
Comment by Deb Thu Dec 3 07:50:46 2015
Deb --- Good call! I hadn't made chili yet this year, so I made some last night. Almost threw in come cabbage, but chickened out at the last moment. :-)
Comment by anna Sat Dec 5 06:48:47 2015

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