Monday, 16 November 2015

Storing the food .....

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.

Sue xx


  1. We had sunshine from about 11-30, so I got a line full of washing out. By 1-00 it was drizzling, so it's on the rack in the sun room now, but it dried really well in that 90 minutes. It was such a joy to see washing drying naturally outside, and a bit of sunshine was very welcome! Hope our rain doesn't head your way!

  2. Essex was plunged back into night time at 7 this morning when the rain clouds descended. It rained for short while but remained grey and miserable. Love what you are planning for next year. I'm still learning about growing food but I'm enjoying it. I would like to grow more fruit and have more vegetables in the winter.

  3. It will be really interesting to read about your challenge, I'm hoping to grow a lot more when we move so will be looking at ways of preserving.

  4. Congrats on having SUNSHINE. That's the best. And I love all the work and time you put into eating whole yummy foods. Someday, I want my own tunnel. Looks like a blast.

  5. Yes Sue we have had sunshine for at least part of the day today accompanied by strong winds and the occasional shower. But hurricane Barney is set to hit us tomorrow, so it won't last for long.

  6. I know your growing season is MUCH longer than ours (W.Canada) but did you ever consider buying a pressure canner? That way you can can pretty well can/preserve anything and everything. You wouldn't have to worry about power outages or food deterioration in cold storage. Just a thought. Maybe you don't feel the need for such long term storage.

    1. I have thought about it, but really I don't think I need to invest in any more gadgets. I can things in my jam pan on a small scale, but really our produce only has to last a year at the most, and I get the heeby jeebies if I have too much in store ... I know ... I'm weird ;-)

  7. It takes a lot of food to feed 2 people for a year, as I well know. I always laugh when someone who is not a gardener looks at my little plot as says "Oh, I bet you are self-sufficient"! No way. You need a lot more space than I have to be able to be self-sufficient.

  8. Really looking forward to reading about your challenge during 2016. I am in awe of all your growing and preserving, and will be fascinated by your progress!

  9. I will be fascinated to follow this next challenge. I sense it will be by helpful and informative and, knowing you, funny too :)

  10. I love homemade food so much! It is more tasty than in a supermarket!

  11. I'm really looking forward to your blog posts from January when you take up your challenge. I find your blog posts such good fun to read (always smile at your lovely animals) and I find them very inspiring too :-) Em x

  12. Great stuff! I'd be worried about the potatoes getting sprouty and stuff!

  13. hope to follow your progress as you go along!
    always enjoy your posts!


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