Well, there it is. February 1st and this is the remainder of the foods that we put away over the summer to carry us through these long cold winter months when the farmers market tables look so bare. If we were pioneers we probably wouldn't make it through the winter! Four bags of pesto, pickles, three kinds of salsa, green beans, jam, and some tomatoes. Actually, we still have quite a few more jars of tomatoes and a few bags of frozen zucchini and two bags of hot peppers. Oh, and the canned corn that nobody likes. Next year I will definitely skip the canned corn and just freeze all of it. The same with the green beans. It is less labor intensive and tastes waaaay better. Both are OK in stews and soups though. We also still have about 20 potatoes, two quart bags of blueberries and one of sun-dried tomatoes.
Overall I feel pretty proud of the changes we made this year. We didn't eat entirely local but we did a pretty good job. Better than I imagined. During the summer and well into the fall there were lots of weeks when I spent less than $20 at the grocery store. As we moved into winter though I found myself shifting back to my old cooking habits which include lots of staple items bought at the oriental food market and some, but very few, processed foods. It was funny how all of my philosophical ideals quickly went out the window when I had to prepare a lunch for Sami to take to school last week and found myself at the grocery store face to face with a box of granola bars!
We started our little adventure almost a year ago and I have to say that it was more fun and less difficult than I imagined. I'm lucky to have a few Mennonite friends who actually grew up living this way -- making everything from scratch, growing things and buying what your neighbor had to sell. Anytime I felt stumped I could just pick up the phone or call over the fence.
The hard part was not having a ton of snack foods on hand to pull out when the kids needed something to tide them over until dinner. This was especially true after apple season ended in the Fall. I would just give them bread with jam and butter but it would have been far easier to just rip open a bag of tortilla chips or open a can of pineapple.
So, in honor of the groundhog tomorrow I'm turning my thoughts towards the sun. I'm dreaming of my garden, the crisp snap of a green bean, and the satisfying heft of a tomato. At the end of last summer I wondered if I would ever try such a thing again. Apparently, that is what winter is for! Because, yes, I think I will. I'm ready!!
Ah yeah, and this post wouldn't be complete without to following: