Storing the food we grow ourselves is almost as important as the actual growing of it. If we are to get to any level of self sufficiency we need the homegrown vegetables and fruits to last us as long as possible throughout the year, from one growing season to the next if possible.
There are still lots of fresh things in the polytunnel. The carrots, cabbages, kale, spinach, celery, spring onions, radishes, lettuce, kohlrabi and sweet potatoes are all things I could pick and eat now, the cabbages are yet to fully heart up but the outer leaves are being sparingly picked and added to soups and stews, the other things in this list are all fully grown and ready for the picking.
Coming along behind them are the newer sowings of beetroot, more spinach, onions, garlic, more radishes, more spring onions and a couple of other things that I can't for the life of me remember while I'm sat here at the computer. It's important to me to try and avoid too much of the dreaded 'hungry gap' by trying to keep some things available fresh at all times of the year.
Last week I used up the last of the potatoes that were in the kitchen cupboard, so yesterday when we decided to have a 'proper' Sunday lunch and I needed potatoes I went to the understairs gloryhole and lifted out the big bag of potatoes that I had stashed in there months ago.
They were exactly as they were when I put them in there, and still covered in the soil that dried on them while they basked in the sunshine of late September. So now I know that the cool, well ventilated cupboard under the stairs is the perfect place for my vegetables to go. It was a bit experimental putting them there but it worked ... phew!!
Of course my other methods of saving food to last us through the Winter months and well into next year have been well documented on various posts. Bottling ...
... pickling ...
... and of course the easiest of easies .....freezing.
Before our Challenge kicks off on the first of January I am going to do a complete food stocktake and see what we have stored in all these methods. It's going to be an entire year of recording what we eat, what we grow, how we preserve it all and all the nitty gritty of getting ourselves to a place where it will be viable in the future. So you can see why sometimes my mind is buzzing at the moment. Every trip to the cupboard or the freezer sets me off thinking again, making basic outlines of plans and wondering how we can do better.
But for now, I'm going to try and stop thinking about food and dash downstairs to empty the washing machine and peg it on the line ... because for the first time in ages it has stopped raining and we have SUNSHINE.