We made it through December without touching almost any of our preserved food supplies. We had stashes of fresh winter tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, radishes, cabbages, cooking & salad greens, carrots, radishes, turnips, soup beans & cowpeas, onions & garlic, and more to dip into throughout the fall and early winter. The only frozen or canned item we’ve used in any quantity is meat and a few jars of pickles, and we still have most of our meat stash left. At the start of January, we still have some of these “fresh” items remaining, but will finally start to dip into the rest.
Many folks think of winter as the “hungry” time for households like us; it’s actually spring. Lots of items will store into the new year, but won’t last until March. Yet it’s not until April or even May when substantial new produce begins to be available again, so we have to plan our food stores to last that long. This is why we’re so glad to have made it into January without touching our preserved stock. We’ve also stopped milking now, meaning the fresh cheese and yogurt is gone, and we’ll have to be more stingy with our purchased milk.
Here’s an overall look at what we have put up for the remainder of winter through spring, everything grown/butchered/made by us, except for the fruits, which were picked locally in season, and some of the canned tomatoes, which we purchased fresh from a friend to supplement our poor harvest.
IN THE CHEST FREEZER:
Broth (duck, venison, goat, chicken)
Fruit (blueberries, strawberries, peaches, raspberries, elderberries)
Prepared (various chutneys, soups, relishes, and more)
Vegetables (peas, corn, edamame, green beans, okra, zucchini, roasted tomatoes, greens)
Meat (Venison, goat, chicken, venison sausage)
Tomatoes Tomato juice
And, of course, there are still dried beans, cornmeal, garlic, and the like. But we’re pretty happy with this diversity of farm- or locally-sourced food put up for the rest of the non-growing season. We do use a variety of storable purchased items like noodles, flour, rice, spices, and so on, but the base and bulk of our diet throughout the winter is our own food. The supplies above make for wonderfully tasty and variable menus for months, and we’re pretty independent from a store in any given week.