It is mid- February on the farm in Onondaga, Michigan. We are still feasting on potatoes, garlic, shallots, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, canned foods, and lots of dried herbs. We recently finished placing our seed orders from some of our favorite seed companies: Fedco Seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Johnny's Select Seeds. and Seed Savers. It feels like we are all(my husband and two daughters and I) anxiously awaiting the reawakening that spring brings. I can conjure up the feel and smell of fresh soil as I dreamily await the thaw.
I can safely say that I feel pretty comfortable with last year's food preserving accomplishments. I made several batches of preserves and saurkraut, along with canned salsa and tomato sauce. I froze sweet peppers for the first time. How easy that was--just cut pepper into chunks and threw it into a freezer bag. I dried all of my favorite herbs which include oregano, sage, and thyme. We dried several large batches of garlic which we later ground into garlic powder and we dried loads of hot peppers. I made a wonderfully tasty batch of chili powder with three different types of peppers. I like to use my basil by processing it into pesto and freezing it in freezer bags. I break a section of it off and put it into my tomato sauce throughout the winter.
Steve's brother built a porch onto our home last year and we are currently using the space to store most of our produce. We have several lugs stacked on top of one another filled with our precious stores. We find that maintaining a cool temperature of around 65 degrees helps preserve the potatoes, garlic, and squash fairly well. Our favorite winter squash and most reliable storing variety is the butternut squash. We use it in both sweet and savory dishes. I like to peel it, cut into chunks, boil it and toss with sauteed onions and herbs(thyme, rosemary). Okay, i forgot to mention rosemary....we have it growing fresh throughout the year in one of our hoophouses. I still like to dry some of it and store in a glass jar to have on hand in my kitchen.
My youngest daughter Brigid just picked a fresh lemon today off the our lemon tree we have growing in the greenhouse. Its smell permeated the house. While I'm discussing the greenhouse I'll let the reader know what other plants we grow in there throughout the year. We grow figs, bay laurel, I've mentioned rosemary and lemon already, lemon verbena, calamondin, and alpine strawberries. Steve picked a white alpine strawberry last week and gave it to me. What a "sweet" gesture!
This is my first blog and my first entry. I hope you enjoy reading it. I plan to continue writing and adding information about our gardens, how and what we grow, and kitchen tips and recipes. Blessed be.