Thursday, January 7, 2010

Garden 2009 final report

Blog Jan 7

A small update on the Garden 2009, I finally had to toss the last 3 onions. 2 were very sprouted and the third was rotting. It was definitely worth the cost of the sets and the time and effort of planting them and harvesting them. I can’t say I did anything else to them. Matter of fact we had to hunt for them in the weeds & grass to pull them up. They lasted from a good 3-4 months in my pantry, resting in a coffee-filter lined colander.

The last 5 pounds of red potatoes are still in the pantry in a cardboard box.

A few of them are getting wrinkly and sprouted so I need to get them cooked up asap. I’ve been reading through some old food-preserving Yahoo group emails and found a method of shredding the potatoes, boiling them, then drying for 8-12 hours. When dried you can power them for “instant” potatoes. It may not be as good as commercial instant mashed potatoes but it’s better than throwing away 5 pounds of home-grown potatoes. That may be my project for this weekend. The dehydrator will help keep the kitchen warmer.

I also found a way to dry pumpkin, which was exciting to me. I did freeze some pumpkin pulp blobs last year but didn’t vacuum-seal them, so they are getting freezer-burnt. The pumpkin was free so I’m only out of my time and the electricity used to cook it, but still....

Speaking of freezer-burn, I’m so miffed at myself. I tossed 2 bags of frozen vegetables this evening, that were all freezer burnt. It’s been months since we’ve eaten frozen vegetables, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. Just erks me that they were wasted. There just wasn’t any way to save them. I doubt they’d even be good in soup or pureed and added to red sauce or meat loaf.
And that zucchini in the fridge, was wasted also. But the peppers are still looking good.

I also did a little pantry reorganization after the holidays it got to be a bit of a mess with all the big storage containers stacked up and then falling down. I can see I need to watch for some canned vegetable sales, but everything else seems to be plentiful for now. I need to do a thorough freezer inventory yet and then will have a complete restocking list. Right now I know I need walnut pieces and bacon. Also I think the cheddar cheese is low. I have a gift card to our local natural foods store and can’t wait to get some local organic cheese for eating fresh. We don’t drink alot of milk, so we get our calcium from cheese, half-n-half and yogurt.

Winter is also a great time to plan ahead for the growing season. Even if you don’t plan to garden, there are local farmer’s markets, pick-your-own farms, road-side stands, neighbors with extra produce; all that can be processed and stored for eating later. I would much rather eat locally produced foods.

Have you done a recent pantry and freezer inventory? What is your favorite long-term storage method? Canning? Drying? Freezing? Do you use what you store? Are you planning to learn a new skill this year?

My goal is to can some meat this year.... if I still have my pressure canner and if it works. I am hoping to have a neighbor help me do this. I’ve never pressure canned anything before.


"Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end.
It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing;
it's when you've had everything to do, and you've done it."
~ Margaret Thatcher ~

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