For anyone wondering why I haven’t posted lately, let me count the reasons: 56 quarts of fermented pickles, relishes, krauts, and other veggies, 38 jars of various jams, jellies and fruit butters, 18 pints of canned pears and applesauce, 10 quarts of tomatoes, various bags of dried plums and pears, and dozens of packages of frozen peaches, kale, and pesto! You could say it has been a busy transition from summer to fall.
This weekend I finally closed down about half of the garden beds. 40 cloves of garlic are tucked in for the long winter. There are still leeks and kale to harvest, but I have promised myself that everything will be wrapped up in the garden before our pig is processed in November and we shift into making ham, bacon, lard, sausage, proscuito, and pancetta. I rarely look forward to winter, but this year I feel a bit of relief that things are winding down and there will be a period without weeding, pig feeding, or keeping up with processing the harvest.
We are just about finished with construction of our root cellar, which will give us better options for storage this winter and also shift the focus of the garden for next year. I plan to grow more storage crops (beets, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic) and let our CSA membership bring the fresh greens and summer veggies to our table. Of course I will still plant dill and cukes for pickles and cabbage for kraut, but I know that next year I can get by with about half of what I planted this year. (Thank goodness our neighbors like cucumbers!)
So heading into our third winter of local eating I feel more secure than ever. Preserving pears, peaches and plums was new this season and will add some needed variety to what has been our daily ritual of blueberries and strawberries. We also froze a lot of blanched kale to use in winter soups (with still more in the garden to process). And of course I fermented more veggies this year than ever before: kraut, kimchi, salsa, pickles, dilly beans, beets, radishes, celery, corn relish, ginger carrots, and just about anything else that found it’s way into the kitchen this season ended up in one jar or another, guaranteeing us an array of crunchy raw veggies all winter. It does feel like we have come a very long way from that first local winter of potatoes and cabbage at every meal!!!