Friday, January 2, 2009

Lessons learned

Evan and I had the last of the chard we grew and froze this summer in a wonderful soup from Vegan Planet, Brown Lentil Soup with Chard and Orzo.
As winter has progressed I have begun to gather the lessons learned from a year of gardening, preserving and storing seasonal food.

They include:

1) Grow twice as much chard.

2) Don't try to can tomatoes, you will be driven insane trying to peel 30 lbs of romas.

3) Do make expensive sauces, chutneys and salsa, don't waste time on things you can buy canned at the grocery store for $1.00.

Ev and I concluded this is the same when it comes to gardening.. we won't be wasting as much garden space on potatoes and yellow onions, but will focus more on the things we like to eat that are rare or expensive to buy. Next year we will try brussels sprouts, leeks and sunchokes.

Sunchokes, incidentally, are an insanely good veg. One of the few vegetables indigenous to North America. They are very difficult to describe, but taste a lot like water chestnut or lotus root.

4) Make three times more salsa.

5) Don't pickle things that you are not used to eating pickled. Evidence - 5 jars of unopened pickled beans.. what was I thinking...

6) Do make pesto. Homemade pesto in December is out of this world. I paid $5.00 for a grocery bag full of basil this summer at the farmer's market and it was very much worth it. We have really enjoyed cilantro pesto as well, which I stir into pad thai and green curries.

So halfway through the winter season, we are running low on frozen veggies but are nonetheless eating very well, buying local seasonal produce for the most part (with the odd orange or lemon from California, sigh..) and using our store of roasted peppers, chutneys and frozen fruit to pull it all together. So far so good.


melanie said...

Mmmm... homemade pesto. I think I might have to do that next summer. The cilantro kind sounds great too.

Have you heard of this woman?:

My sister is obsessed with her right now. I don't have enough time to read all of her blog entries but they are very thought provoking.

Anonymous said...

wow that is a great blog, thanks for the heads up. I've also been reading James Glave more lately. They both capture that wierd experience of depletion and abundance, as Astyk calls it.. trying not to be overwhelmed by the danger we are all in, taking solace in tiny actions like recycling my yoghurt containers..