The farmers market is slowly getting up to full tilt again. Just in time, too. If I have to eat another sweet potato or winter squash, I might scream.
It's been roughly a year since I started trying to eat locally. Late last spring, I read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and decided I could do that, too, just not to the extent as she did. I some form of a backyard garden on and off over the years, and remembered helping my mom can when I was younger. So, I dove right in last summer.
In preparing for my upcoming "delicious potager," I took stock of what I have in the freezer and what I have left that I canned last year.
Here's what I know. I need to put up more:
spaghetti sauce and salsa - I only made a few experimental quarts and pints last summer. But they went fast.
apple sauce - I took the apple sauce in my lunch from December through February after I ran out of fresh apples. I need it to last a couple more months.
bell peppers - I used most of what I grew last year fresh. I am going to freeze A LOT more diced peppers this year.
tomatoes - I still have about 5 pints left and 1 quart, but that won't last me until fresh ones come on.
basil - I couldn't seem to keep enough around for pesto last year. I put basil in everythying. I only froze a couple cups of pesto last year.
I still have WAY TOO MUCH:
pickles - actually, I have way too many quarts of dill pickles left. I probably won't even can any this summer. I only have 1 quart of bread and butter left, and that's what we eat more of. I might can more of those. I remember last summer thinking I was canning too much, but what else is there to do when you have cucumbers coming out your ears? The funny thing is, I planted a hill of cucumbers, which produced a good amount, but I got the bulk of my crop from a volunteer vine of "straight 8's" that I'd planted the year before. I didn't get many at all of that vine the year I planted it.
yellow squash - still have several bags of sliced squash in the freezer. I'm having a hard time using it, since it is a bit mushy after its frozen.
canned deer meat - I probably have 12 quarts of deer meat that Jeremy's mom canned. Don't get me wrong, I like it, but I don't have a lot of recipies to use it in. Right now, I use it for BBQs. It tastes a lot like beef BBQ when you put BBQ sauce on it with some slaw on a bun. I need to find other ways to use it. I also have about 18-1.5 to 2 lb packages of ground deer burger in the freezer, but I don't think I'll end up with too much of that, since it has to last me until November or December, and I use it in place of ground beef for pretty much everything except actual hamburgers.
So, what's that mean? Well, this year, I bought several varieties of tomato seeds. Some for eating fresh like Mountain Princess and Pineapple, and some for canning like Romas. I've also got several types of sweet peppers started, with an eye toward Cal Wonders so I can freeze them to use for reicpes throughout the year. And, now that I'm getting the hang of canning (and got my own canners for Christmas) I'm going to can a lot more--apples, tomatoes, jams and jellies. As for the stuff I have left over, I need to find some recipes to finish this stuff off--or find someone who really likes dill pickles...