1.14.2014

Eating Local in the New Year

Aside from summer when the garden plants are flourishing and full with vegetables and fruits, this is my next favorite time of the year.  The holiday bustle is over, the New Year has begun and I fully begin to appreciate the value of my stored harvest from the garden!  I made sure to freeze or dry as much of last year’s veggies, fruit and berries as I could from the garden and any goodies my lovely neighbors would pass over the backyard fence.


Straight from the garden, I washed, bagged and then froze anything extra I was not going to eat within the day or two.  By the end of the fall, I had quite the cache in the bottom of the deep freeze.  I had planned on a large run of canned local peaches and some garlicky pickles to enjoy over the winter but time sadly did not allow!  I ‘plan’ to be all organized for this upcoming year so I can be sure to grow and find everything I would like to have stored up for next winter.  Even the peaches, zucchini, tomatoes and berries that I froze, all have wintered well and hopefully will last into the spring.

After dipping into my frozen green beans, I tell you, I will never buy another bag of processed, frozen vegetables from the store again!  After a brief visit to the steamer, eating my frozen beans was like summer happening all over again.  They tasted no different than if I had picked them from the plant that afternoon!  I could not believe, months later, those beans have retained the flavor that they have. A few extra rows of beans will definitely be added to this year’s garden!  

While I am on a grocery store food rant, I was just reminded of what I found in my lunch today (which only strengthens my urgency to be growing my own food).  I picked up a bag of Snow Peas at the grocery store the other day, as mine were all eaten long ago and they are a big hit in our kitchen.  As I was cracking the pods open for my child, I noticed an off spot in one of them.  As I removed the peas, out popped a little caterpillar. Well, let me say that was the end to the bag of snow peas and I really wish I had not just eaten a handful of them without first opening up the pods…  

Sure, bugs happen.  A bug from my backyard in my food is much more comforting, for some reason, than one that could have traveled possibly half way around the world in that pea pod.  I have to admit that little caterpillar was really the last straw for me…  My goal this year is drop my largest food related vice, eating out of season and go ‘locavore’, all the way.  I am not quite sure what I am going to do about bananas and oranges though…

My green beans are definitely the most enjoyed part of last year’s harvest.  Not only were the beans the longest producing, they were also the heaviest yield out of my small garden.  I cannot wait to get started with this year’s garden and organizing myself properly for next winter, still a few months to go here though.   

Although many of you are in the midst of your growing season and not freezing your BEE-hinds off in the northern reaches of the world, what are your favorite ways to preserve your harvest for the rest of the year?  What garden treats do you enjoy the most, preserved?