Attempting to grow enough vegetables in the garden, then harvest and process them for eating all winter, is always a challenge. Most years I'm fairly successful, but it seems I inevitably run out of something before fresh produce from the garden starts coming in.
This year my shortfall is going to be broccoli. I knew it would happen as the broccoli plants didn't do very well last season. It could have just been the year or maybe the variety of seed I planted.
This morning I took stock of all our vegetables and quantities of same left in the freezer, root cellar and basement. Neither Papa Pea nor I like canned vegetables because of the lack of fresh flavor. The heat involved in the canning also destroys many of the nutrients we count on our veggies providing for us. Therefore, other than the potatoes, beets, carrots, onions and garlic kept "raw" in the root cellar and basement, all our veggies are frozen.
I found I had only 4 servings of broccoli left out of 22 servings frozen. (Waaah.) I further depleted the supply by putting 2 servings in the big pot of potato soup I just made this morning.
There are always PLENTY of green and yellow beans. (I like to mix them for appealing color on the plate.) They're easy to grow in our climate and although I plant only eight feet of each variety, the fruitful plants give us more than we need. I froze 61 servings and probably have half of that left.
Brussels sprouts servings number only 5 left. I put by 22 servings and because we love them, the supply has dwindled quickly.
I know many people don't grow (or grow enough to preserve) green shell peas because they are thought to be too labor intensive. A good portion of my field garden is given over each year to trellises of shell peas because they are almost our favorite vegetable. I don't mind a bit sitting and shelling them because . . . well, I get to sit down which doesn't happen a lot in the summer time around here. I froze 28 servings and have 6 left.
We eat tons of sugar snap peas fresh off the vines, but I've given up trying to freeze them. They always come out limp, a touch tough, and lacking in flavor.
There is usually cauliflower for us to eat over the winter, but my crop was a total bust this past year. Did not even get any to eat fresh. Heads formed to about the size of 2" across and then bolted. Drat.
Right after a first frost, I harvest all remaining kohlrabi and am able to keep them in the refrigerator until we use them up. This past season I had about 12 of them. I don't cook them as we prefer them raw in salads or as raw, crispy sticks for munching.
Before frost I harvest all the slicing cucumbers left and keep them in the spare refrigerator until they're gone. I usually have about 15-20 of them, I give away some of them and the rest will last about a month.
Extra sweet peppers that don't get made into Stuffed Green Peppers are chopped, quick frozen on cookie sheets, and then packed in freezer bags. I made plenty of them this past season. Two gallon bags were tucked away in the freezer and I still have 3/4 of the last bag left. Our pepper crop was abundant and I also still have many, many meals of Stuffed Green Peppers waiting for quick, easy dinners. I put up a total of 49 servings. A serving equals a meal for both of us.
The potatoes, beets and carrots in the root cellar are holding out in good shape.
There are plenty of onions left in the basement. Well, I should say plenty of yellow onions. I brought these up yesterday and although I still have one full milk crate of the yellow onions, these are the last (sob) of the red ones. Note to self: Plant more red onions this year. After harvest last fall, I had 3 crates of the yellow and 1 of the red.
The bulbs of garlic in the basement are going fast. I'll run out way before the ones in the garden are ready this coming season. Fortunately, I did plant more this past fall than previously.
Until we have our hoop house in place in the garden, I can't successfully grow corn (or enough tomatoes for preserving either) so I have to purchase cases of frozen corn from our organic co-op. This usually amounts to about two cases or 24 bags over the winter. Fortunately, a bag gives us somewhere around 3 servings. We like corn.
That's kind of a quick (okay, not so quick) overview of the vegetables we still have on hand. I find that as soon as the garden starts producing fresh greens, we lose our hankering for what frozen veggies are left and desire the fresh greens as a vegetable on our plates.
I don't know how interesting this has been for any of you, but taking the time to go through my inventory has been very helpful for me. I've made some notes for the garden for this coming season and . . . looks as though I'd better start serving meals with beans as the vegetable with more frequency.
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