by Patrick Ganey (Duck Fat and Politics)
I was anticipating the winter eat local challenge back in July; that’s when we picked a winter’s worth of blueberries over in Maiden Rock, Wisconsin. This evening my daughter and I hung out in the kitchen and made blueberry muffins for the week, dipping into another bag from the freezer. The eggs were gathered in our backyard and the flour (wheat and white) is from North Dakota. Pretty local, but what strikes me as essential to eating good, healthy food in the winter is harvesting it when it’s abundant and finding a way to store or preserve it. As much as we love blueberries, we wouldn’t be eating them in the dead of winter if we hadn’t picked them in July.
While we’ve been canning and freezing more of summer’s bounty each year, we still have a long way to go to before we’ll be eating it all through the winter. The only way I’ll eat more of my own food next winter is by planning now. As I get ready to start seeds in my basement, I want to think a little more about what things I can plant (or pick or buy) that will last into the winter. Blueberry muffins are a good incentive; if an afternoon of pleasant picking can keep us flush with blueberries for the entire year, just imagine what we could do with a cabbage patch! We’d have sauerkraut for breakfast! And what about corn? Could we buy enough in August to last through the winter? A weekend of work would probably fill the freezer with enough to last until next year. And so it goes, one food after another. Last fall I planted garlic for the first time in four or five years; I used to plant a lot but stopped a few years ago; I hope I can eat some of my own during next year’s winter eat local challenge.
Well, I can daydream about my gardening plans all winter long, but I know what’s going in my kids’ lunches this week.