Some people think that putting up food for the year means bushel baskets of produce all over the kitchen, and long hours of work each and every day for weeks on end. The reality is a little different. It’s more like small additions to the freezer and shelves that build up into a winter’s supply. Here is how I actually fill the pantry.
Of course, when the garden ripens, there are long days of preserving foods, but the bulk of the work is accomplished in tiny steps. Right now, the garden is coming along, but there is nothing to harvest yet. I can find plenty to put into the pantry, however. Let me give you some examples.
* Rhubarb – Once a week, I pick all the largest pieces and use the food processor to cut the stalks into slices. I fill gallon bags with rhubarb ready for pies. A gallon bag holds enough for two pies and right now, I have 10 pies worth in the freezer. I will get one or two more harvests before it goes to flower.
Make a pie with my never-fail pie crust.
*Herbs – Every morning I pick things in the herb garden. A few chamomile blossoms, a handful of peppermint, trim the rosemary and thyme. I dry these bits in a dark place, turning every day until dry enough to keep in glass jars on the shelf. I add to the jars as I harvest and dry all season.
*Wild things – The Pineapple weed that grows everywhere here makes a delicately flavored tea. I cut and dry it by the handfuls for my tea-loving children. The same goes for the nettles and raspberry leaves. Slow and steady fill the jars. I’ll share my fermented raspberry leaves in a later blog if you are interested.
*Greens – Cut and dry, cut and dry all season long. Dried greens go into half-gallon jars and this nutrient-dense food is added to any soup or stew, smoothie, or sauce. When powdered, you don’t even know its an ingredient. It’s a great ingredient for Kitchen Sink Sauce.
This winter, I can enjoy teas, tinctures and seasonings from the yard. If you have been reading my blog for long you know that I am a believer of growing a few foods and knowing how to make 100 things with those ingredients. The abovementioned things all help me be a creative cook when trying to figure out what to make for dinner, again.