PICKLES, PICKLES, PICKLES
I am so tired of pickling. My garden is obviously too big. Right now if I never see another cucumber or zucchini I will be happy.
My little pantry cupboard is almost filled with mason jars full with my efforts. I have made relish from zucchini and three kinds of cucumber pickles (I prefer the brine pickles). I have also pickled carrots (more to do) and two kinds of pickled beets.
On my shelves are also several jams and jellies made from wild berries picked on my property.
I even made mint jelly from the mint plants growing along the river. This I will eat with the lamb my neighbour gave me. The lamb should last me all winter so I am looking for interesting recipes.
Today, I am making saurkraut with the lovely cabbages. I hope it turns out well. I have some moose meat and may end up with some moose sausage woth which it will go well.
From my garden I have also frozen some zucchini and butternut squash, an easier way to preserve it than pickling.
And, or course, a winter's suppy of potatoes isto be stored in the basement in a dry cool place.
I wonder why I do this as a single guy with few friends and family with whom to share it . It is a big job and really needs a group of people to do it. One reason is that I like to grow a garden (I am not very good at it) and I hate to seen the fresh produce go to waste. What I cannot give away I process, freeze or store. I wanted to give some to the food bank but apparently they do not handle fresh produce. Something wrong with this! Town people on modest income could certainly use fresh produce! I also believe this style of life I live needs to be preserved. There is knowledge and skills that have been lost to the last couple of generations that needs to be rediscovered as I have done. These may become more useful and even necessary in the future with climate change and decreasing fossil fuel supplies. Last, I feel guilty of sitting on this large piece of land without trying at least to feed myself from what I can grow and raise on it.
My growing interest is in the ability to identify, harvest and prepare wild plants from the forest. I keep telling myself some year I will try to harvest enough of these items to preserve them for my pantry. There are berries, of course, and I already do that. But there are also greens, starches, herbs and medicinal plant in abundance all around us. Once again, this will be a challenge for another year. In the meantime, I will enjoy the fruits if my labour over the winter.