I was recently reading to Sylvia Little House in the Big Woods, my favorite of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. If you remember this one, it starts out with all the autumn food preparation for the winter: fat pumpkins lining the attic that the girls used as tables and chairs during play time; dried herbs hung upside down and stored for cooking and medicines; hog slaughtering day and the special, pioneer-era treats for kids (an inflated bladder to bat around like a balloon! a pig tail cooked on a stick! headcheese!).
While Phil has not built a smokehouse in the backyard (yet), I realized our routine has evolved to preserve as much as we can while spring and summer are in full swing, so that we start the winter with a full freezer and pantry shelves.
A couple of things that happened this year:
- Freezing tomatoes in gallon bags
- Making lots of jams and jellies for ourselves and to give as gifts
- Trying to store a winter’s worth of pesto (should we run out of the basil and sorrel pesto that’s frozen, we’ll make it from chard and kale, which will grow through the winter)
- Freezing stock for winter soups
- Saving heirloom tomato seeds using Margaret Roach’s method; I recently learned you really should store and reuse heirloom seeds so that over the years the seeds can strengthen and adapt to your environment
- Putting up other treats like bread and butter pickles, watermelon rind pickles, green tomato relish, and marinara sauce
And now, we’re off to see what the ducks have given us…