“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. In our mad rush for progress and modern improvements let's be sure we take along with us all the old-fashioned things worth while.” Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Before Winter Sets In

We're readying our food storage areas.

This involves cleaning out the deep freezers by using up last years meats and frozen foods by sorting, tossing and separating the old from the new.  Our veggies are stored away by blanching, freezing in single layers and then vacuum sealing in food storage bags.  I've got three of our four freezer shelves designated for this summer's goods, leaving one shelf for last year's goods that will be eaten first.  Any produce that has been frozen too long gets tossed in the compost bin.   We store a mix of home canned goods as well for emergencies such as peaches, green beans and tomato products.

Beef and chicken stocks are made; some to be frozen in straight sided jars ... and some to be canned.  These are stored in 1-4 cup increments to make quick and delicious bases for soups, gravies and sauces.  When we order our beef, I always ask for bare and meaty soup bones.  They are kept frozen until I have time to prepare the stock.  Chickens are ordered whole and freshly butchered. It takes a good half day for me to cut them into serving parts that get bagged and vacuum sealed for the freezer .. but once this job is done, it's very convenient to pull out a bag of wings, drumsticks, thighs, breasts or mixed parts.  The livers and hearts are separated and frozen as well, and the backs are bagged 4-5 together, frozen and pulled out when it's more convenient to make chicken stock.  With the price of store bought stock, making it at home is very economical and of a better quality.

Our raspberries produced and produced!  They have been turned into homemade jams, juices, and some frozen for later use.  We have an abundance of wild raspberries, blueberries and huckleberries as well.  Frozen berries are good additions to homemade waffles, yogurt, pies and smoothies. These can be easily grown, picked wild, or purchased at your farmer's market.  With the exception of lemons, we try and only buy produce in season. 

We're starting to harvest herbs such as dill, thyme, oregano, marjoram and basil for drying.  They get picked, bundled and hung in the rafters of our shed.  In a week or so, they're dry and ready to strip off the stems to store away in jars.  We go through a lot of herbs during the winter months and growing them in the garden is quite easy.  With the exception of the basil and rosemary, most of our herbs come back each year.

Now that we've made the initial investment installing our gardens, much of our produce is practically free by harvesting and saving our own seeds .. and that's a good thing!

Ask yourself this question:  'This coming year I'd like to learn how to _________ .'  


Lynn said...

This coming year I'd like to learn how to become a better replacement-Mother to my 6-year old granddaughter. A near-to-impossible goal, but a goal I'll continue to work on.

I had sons, not daughters. And I had a Mother who wasn't mentally ill in my life. It is difficult to understand some of the unspoken sentiments and questions that I know my granddaughter has. I am just now learning that she wants and needs more hugs than she has been given. And I only learned this by watching her repeatedly hugging a stuffed animal she seems to 'depend' on. Then when she, Daddy, and I visited the new schoolroom and teacher last Friday, she said to me, "I like my teacher. She's a big hugger."

Kids may not come right out and say what they mean or need, but by listening and watching them, we can often pick up on these things. Sometimes it takes both of us to figure her needs out. Sometimes, Daddy has to voice them, as well.

Who said kids are easy?? lol

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Your family will eat well this winter.

My goal is to live peacefully, trusting in God to take care of and be with me at all times. To learn to be brave. :-)


Sandy said...


Prepping for the new year by canning, freezing, and dehydrating fresh vegetables, and fruits. Along with making your own stock, and preparing meats to ensure your freezer is packed and ready to provide for your family is a mission we all would love to have complete before winter sets in.

To answer your question, this coming year I'd like to learn how to leave stress at my front door. It's a problem both my husband and I need to learn to no longer bring home.

Mrs. Mac said...

Lynn, Wow .. that's a tall order but what a blessing that you are tuning in to the needs of your sweet granddaughter. Hugs .. yes, we all need more hugs.

Sandy .. stress is so destructive to health and family harmony. Praying you leave it at the door so your home is your sanctuary <3

Flowerlady, I know you have been walking the road of widowhood and blogging about your journey. By trusting in God, you will be brave and a dear friend to those that will one day walk a similar path.

Laurie said...

We also had a wonderful raspberry harvest this summer. I wish I could say our frozen food had some organization. It's basically one big box, so I'm not sure how to do that. This coming year I'd like to learn how to make cheese. I've made ricotta one time... would like to try that again and expand my repertoire.

Anonymous said...

Your produce, both canned and fresh looks BEAUTIFUL! How funny that I called you with a food storage question tonight after you wrote this post! =) Thank you!