I have always liked to cook, like to can, love to bake!
but doing it seasonally was challanging...we are a country of people that eat what we want, when we want... no matter the season.... tastlesss veggies from south america or other countries, packaged food full of preservatives ... maybe it hits your craving but it does nothing for your health....which is why alot of people want to farm to begin with... healthy,tasty foods!
......so if youre Thinking you want to grow your own food??
Better start thinking outside the box when it comes to cooking and start eating seasonally!
like everything else on the farm, it was a learning curve,,, one well worth the time and trouble...
When things don't come in a package you have to cook by the seat of your pants... and use whats on hand...
the things I grow aren't always in my recipe books ( ground cherries, goose, )... nor are there an abundance of recipes for certain veggies I have in abundance ( mustard greens )!
Learning to love tomato or green bean salads in the summer instead of lettuce salads( lettuce dies in our heat here) ... substituting an in season ingredient for an out of season ingredient in a recipe...
Some people have a problem doing this but once you get used to it I promise you will not want to eat any other way!
Its fresh, healthy... and tastes better than anything you can buy out of season or in a package.
.... in TN we have 4 lovely seasons. I like to think each season has its own cusine :-)
In the winter I did a post on the 5 days of cushaw .. winter squash is a major food in the winter... summer squash, except what I dehydrated is long gone... winter cusine is a mix of home preserved foods from summer , foods that store well and fresh vegetables I grow in my winter gardens under low tunnels....
now I get asked all the time... doesn't canning destroy the nutrition in the foods...
well, certainly not all the nutrients are destroyed! it's not as nutritious as fresh, but my naturally grown, no presevative canned foods I say are alot more safe than fresh out of season veggies from another country!! Preserving foods for times when not much grows is a way to survive and has been since the dawn of time... having preserved homegrown food is a blessing and a treasure in the winter. I also dehydrate and sometimes freeze,,, although I prefer not to have to much of my vegetable and fruit supply for winter dependant on the freezer... The four season garden can only do so much... preserving the bounty from your farm needs to happen unless you live somewhere with no winter.
Spring, summer and fall... except for relishes, corn for grain and pickles..its pretty much all fresh foods for our climate here.
We were having a hot June and going into July its wet... rabbits have had a field day with some of the things in my garden which make me relie on the things that they didn't want to eat! This is all an adjustment when you're growing your own food..... I was counting on provider beans... the rabbits ate them all,, thankfully my dragon tongue beans did well in a more protected area so they have been my go to bean for eating and canning this summer.
Right now we have a few new potatoes, beans,leeks, garlic, basil, an abundance of summer squash and cucumbers... starting to get into tomato season and okra is coming...
we have plenty of eggs, have slaughtered 10 ducks and a hog so we also have a good bit of lard and duck fat.
Average summer dinner....summer herbed sausage pattie with pepper relish (canned from last years garden).. sauteed green beans and asparagus beans with fresh garlic in lard,,,,
duck hearts and livers sauteed with leeks in lard... roast new potatoes in duck fat,, fresh slices of yellow pear tomato.
We even serve seasonal foods to guests ..why go to the store for products not as good as what youve got...entertaining with a fresh from the garden menu is so nice! And actually pretty easy...
.. for summer entertaining we may have green bean salad, flat bread made from my homemade cornmeal, zuchinni and duck eggs... topped with heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil,,,
grilled pork chops, a dessert made with fresh berries wild crafted or cultivated.
Breakfast .... never has it been the most important meal of the day for me... until I farmed!
Average summer breakfest.... duck eggs, summer squash rolled in cornmeal and fried in lard, slices of fresh tomato .. maybe an herbed sausage pattie.
In the winter we still get eggs but the veggies would change from squash to fresh greens, sauerkraut and maybe a peice of bacon.
I believe in veggies for breakfest... and every meal really!!!!
Most people may think our breakfasts are a bit strange .... but we have grown to really love them and the outstanding energy we get from them to help tackle the work day.
Being flexible in what you 'think' breakfest, lunch or dinner should be is a must here....
Some things I used to love just can't be grown in TN... so I have had to learn to love the things that can be grown here even more... and I do!
Different ways of preparing and substituting what's available have been a key in our success to cutting our ties with the grocery store.
Sorta like learning to love the livestock that's productive here... not hold onto the livestock that couldnt cut it here!
I do get discouraged by the failures ... like this season...the rabbits eating all my provider beans... the excess rain washing away my mulch making way for weeds....or some plants, like my pepper not doing as well this year as last..... cracked tomatoes from to much rain....articokes looking like they are not going to work out again! I could go on.....
but I have to adjust the menus and focus ( and if you're going to grow all your food you will too!) on the fact that even though all is not perfect in the garden or barnyard.... I gathered a whole bushel of vegetables today!
I canned 6 pints and 4 half pints of wild blackberries and have a dehydrator full of tomatoes and ground cherries....
I ate breakfest , lunch and snacks today , ALL things grown on my farm... and my husband and I will sit down to a dinner all grown right here.... in season vegetables and recently slaughtered meats from livestock we grew..maybe from an animal i had never planned to grow in the first place.... but if it's what works....
Accept it, learn to cook it and love it..... keys to homestead success
and abundant blessings.... Praise the Lord for the things that work out!