So how do you get through the winter eating local foods? I suppose it depends on where you live. For some winter means cool weather gardens and citrus harvests. Here in my snow covered world it is a different story. I mentioned before that the deer finished off all my kale before Christmas. I was hoping it would last a little longer. Fencing is at the top of my to do list this spring.
For years families got through the winter by depending on storage vegetables. Potatoes, root vegetables, and winter squash were dependable staples. I loved the Little House series and remember vividly the descriptions of the attic full of squash, pumpkins, onions and more. I’ve never made a true effort to store fresh food for the winter so this year was a grand experiment. I brought home several varieties of squash, potatoes, apples, onions and more. I was partially spurred on by questions from our customers. Exactly how long would a butternut squash keep? I really didn’t know beyond what I had read.
I’m happy to say that nearly 6 months after harvest I still have plenty of food. Some has fared better than others. The apples stored in refrigerator are still good, but a little soft. The apples in the garage are only good for sauce at this point. We ran out of onions last week, but they were just beginning to sprout anyway. The potatoes were beginning to taste a little off, but I think that they were getting too much light where they were stored. What is left I will keep for seed. I still have sweet potatoes that are holding up well. The butternut and other small squash are just beginning to show signs of wrinkling, but are still tasty. One or two that were blemished succumbed to mold months ago. The large Hubbard squash, Queensland Blue pumpkins, striped cushaws and pumpkins are holding out well. Now that we have cleared out some of the food from the freezer I will cook them up and store them so that we can have pumpkin pie and squash muffins all summer long. The extras go to the chickens. The devour about a pumpkin a week and it keeps them happy and healthy when they can’t find any grass or greens to eat. You should see the size of the eggs.
We had the pleasure of eating supper with some dear friends who are also part of our family of growers. Norma Jean served a wonderful Amish meal as always. We had noodles, salads, BBQ turkey sandwiches, the most delicious sweet potatoes, and of course 6 different desserts. I’ve included the sweet potatoe recipe below along with a variation I’ve tried.
Peel sweet potatoes and cut into thin slices. Heat a large skillet and coat with a small amount of oil. Fry the potatoes over medium high heat until slightly soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with a handful of sugar and continue to cook until brown and crisp on the edges.
Variations I’ve tried include adding onions and frying this together with the potatoes. Add the salt and pepper and the 1-2 teaspoons of curry powder. Throw in a handful of fresh or defrosted frozen peas and a handful of spinach and cook until just wilted. It makes a great lunch by itself or with a bowl of soup.