Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So, What Now?

I don't know what to eat. Or if I should eat. I mean, I worked all summer slaving to put up food for the winter, but now... Should I eat it? It's funny, really. There's a light blanket of snow on the ground. It's 27 degrees right now and even colder with the wind chill. Still... Is it time?

I haven't made a pie with all the peaches that almost brought me to tears, there were so many.

Not a single muffin has been made with the tens of pounds of blueberries picked by hand by my boys.

Carrots are frozen, waiting for soup and stew.

Pickles have been canned in their tangy bread and butter brine, but they sit on a shelf in my basement gathering dust.

Row after row of crushed tomatoes are soldiered together on the shelf below, waiting to weather the lasagna brigade sure to come.

Save for a few cupfuls of corn tossed into the soup I made on Sunday and the single can of blueberry cherry sauce I cracked open to serve with crepes during a brunch I was hosting, I haven't touched a thing.

What is wrong with me? Am I hoarding food? Squirreling it away like the furry critters still racing around my backyard furiously trying to hide just one more nut?

I think it's knowing all of that hard work, the precious hours, the late nights and the memory of the farmer's markets will be gone in an instant. I like looking at the rows of shiny jars, the perfectly stacked freezer storage bags labeled so neatly in my deep freezer and the funny root cellar contraption I cobbled together in my garage holding my boxed apples, potatoes and onions. I feel well stocked, ready and prepared.

So, what now? Is it time? When do we eat?


ruchi aka arduous said...

Hah! This is a good question. I think you can eat now. I mean, here's the thing. If you run out of stores in February, you won't die. We live in the modern world. :) Besides, given how crazy your life is right now, I have a feeling you could use some peach pie.

Mon @Global Homestead said...

lol, that's IS funny.
I have to admit to a grace period after preserving before I eat the stuff.

I agree it's all that hard work going into it all. I can't can something then open it 3 days later!

That's why I freeze a whole bunch of stuff too. I have no problem about tucking into that.

Jena said...

I totally know how you feel! Although my husband has been unashamedly tearing into the applesauce for months now, I have hardly touched a thing. I finally started with an apple pie, using some of my canned filling. I think you should take arduous' advice, peach pie sounds good!

ib mommy said...

Me too. I'm afraid we'll eat it all too quickly and spring won't come soon enough to start all over again!

I promise to go open a jar of something and make it for dinner tonight. You go make yourself a pie:)

JAM said...

I've felt the same things - and I didn't store away nearly as much as you did, I know. We have been opening stuff as we need it - I wouldn't buy spaghetti sauce if I have some of mine, so I open it. I'm trying to eat the stuff from the freezer first, then I'll move onto the canned stuff, since if we get to the point where we don't have much stored in our chest freezer, I'll unplug it until August again when I'm putting away next year's harvest. What I figure is if I still have fresh food from my winter CSA around, I'll use that first, but when it comes to buying green beans or eating our preserved ones, I'll eat ours. I don't know when I'll run out, but it seems like this way I'll be minimizing what I buy, since by the time I run out something might be in season that I could buy locally instead. I do know my kids are getting royally sick of apples, so I've started buying clementines even though they're far from local. I figure kids eating fruit trumps my principles sometimes. And we don't have so many apples left that I can't eat most of them. My older daughter will still eat one a day, but not three like she used to! My challenge has been figuring out what to make from the winter CSA so as not to let anything go bad. I lost a pie pumpkin to rot since I didn't turn it over soon enough to see the bad spot and then the whole thing was mushy.

Heather @ SGF said...

He he. I know just what you mean. I waited and waited before I opened my first jar of tomatoes and then after I did, I couldn't stop and now I'm out. The only thing I have left (other than tons of soup) is some frozen blueberries and a quart of canned peaches. I'm saving them for a day this winter when I can't stand the thought of another grapefruit :)

Next year, I'll be canning lots more!

Chile said...

Like the others, I can totally relate. I commented to my sweetie yesterday that it's almost citrus season again and we still have marmalade from last year! Right now, we're working our way through everything that is open in the refrigerator. Then I will be tucking into our stores. In fact, I'm chomping at the bit to open some things but don't want the refrigerator full of too many choices. It means stuff gets lost and goes bad.

Invite me over for some peach pie when you get it made!

Green Bean said...

That made me laugh! I totally did that last year. I didn't touch the frozen blueberries until a month before they reappeared. The corn languished in my freezer for months and the winter squash, don't get me started on that. This year, I've already tapped into the blueberries. I'm still rationing but I think moving a bit more quickly into enjoying the fruits of my labor.

eco 'burban mom said...

Ruchi - You're right, I could totally eat peach pie. With ice cream, of course!

Mon - I guess I have sort of been using the grace period too, I just want to know that when I open the jar I will appreciate my hard work!

Jena - Yeah, my hubby's not shy either. I think it's different when you're the one actually doing the peeling, canning and storing. You know how much work went into each little jar!

ib mommy - Me too! I know how long Michigan winters get, so I don't want to eat all my goodies too fast!

Jam - How can you unplug your chest freezer? Ugh, mine is always full of a load of chickens from the food club, frozen ice blocks for baseball practice or bags of pancakes. Without my freezer I would be in trouble! And, Shhhh.... my kids are sick of apples too. I bought clemintines myself!

Heather - Your spring harvest will be here before you know it, I remember last year reading your blog drooling over strawberries and looking out the window at 2 feet of snow!!

Chile - I'm that way too, I hate to throw out food, so even if it means eating soup three nights in a row, it's not going to waste!!

GB - I might attempt some blueberry muffins over the weekend. I need to get over my fear by jumping right in. Pie and muffins it is!

Rosa said...

I'm still eating the haul from the last weekend of the farmer's market (hello, pears & winter squash) - mostly, eating things that got bruised or are about to go off.

When we're done with that, we'll hit the canned goods. Though I do weigh every opened can of tomatos carefully.

I just wish I could keep that consciousness of how precious the labor was that went into everything, when it isn't *my* labor. It's too easy to waste the cheap industrial food.

JAM said...

I think the difference is 2 girls vs 4 boys! We only need the freezer for storing harvest stuff, once it's gone, we're ok with the regular freezer on the fridge until things come in again.

Stephanie said...

LOL! I haven't preserved anything, but I'm in Minnesota right now and I've been wondering the same thing, if people can start using their winter stores yet. As well as, how do people celebrate Thanksgiving, the HARVEST festival, when it's so cold and the harvest has been harvested for over a month already by the last Thursday in November? Is it even possible to preserve enough for the loooong winter of this northern climate?

(I'm from California. Yeah. What am I doing here?!?)

Rosa said...

Stephanie, i'm in Minnesota too. It's totally possible. I have a bunch of friends up here whose grandparents did it.

There's a site near Mille Lacs where people lived as long as 9000 years ago - the Mdwanketon were happily wintering there in the 17th century when the French showed up.

At Thanksgiving time people harvest meat fresh - you can leave all the turkeys & pigs out in the field til all the work of vegetable and grain harvesting is done. All the other traditional Thanksgiving dishes either store well (sweet potatos, potatos, squash, pumpkin) or are relishes.

Stephanie said...

Rosa -- thanks for letting me know! That's fascinating to think about. Though as a vegetarian I completely forgot about the meat. Duh. Hello. Of course that could keep until November...

Kimberly said...

That's funny! I canned for the first time this year myself. I was looking at all those jars yesterday and wondering the same thing.
Our local organic farm just closed for the year last week, so fresh in-season, local, organic produce is pretty much done for here in Denver. I'll probably crack open a jar of peaches soon.
I did cook one jar of green beans last night for Thanksgiving. They were yummy! We started in on the pickles as soon as they were ready, and we used a few jars of preserves. Like you though, I've been saving the rest.