Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good Eats in the Winter

"Do you have any tips or an entry on winter-feeding or winter growing when not so much produce and such are available?"

This question was left as a comment on yesterday's blog post about eating well and cheap.  Well, ideally, you don't need to worry much about it because you'll have put up enough by freezing, canning, or drying lots of goodies when food is plentiful, depending on what it is that you have to store and where you have to store it.  I mostly have freezer space and almost no cabinets, so I mostly freeze.  I just started canning this past year and still have a lot to learn about it.  I also hope to acquire a small dehydrator this year so I can start playing with drying things in order to make best use of my limited storage.  These are the books I've been using to learn about these things:


Anyone who has read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle can see exactly how big of a challenge it is to start eating locally (and thereby frequently more cheaply) in the winterish months. It isn't impossible though, so even if this is where you're at, you aren't completely out of luck.  One way to get some good nutritious food for very cheap in the winter is by sprouting.  This isn't an area that I've really played with yet, but I probably will be starting next winter.  These are the books I have that I plan on using to help me on this adventure:

From what I've read, it is also possible to do a fair amount of gardening inside.  If space is an issue, like it is for me, small containers can be used to grow any number of crops including  lettuce, carrots, a variety of herbs, beets, and, if you have enough space for one large container, even some tomatoes!  I was hoping to do this this winter, but since we just moved in the fall and were still getting settled in and used to our new surroundings much of the winter, I didn't get around to it.  I plan on making good use of my shoplight/growlight this winter, though.  I miss having fresh, homegrown food in the winter!  The best book I've found about indoor gardening is The Apartment Farmer.  If you have a lot of space, like a basement that you could hang some low shoplights in, you could have a full-blown square foot garden in that space, but, seeing that I currently have a trailer park homestead, I obviously don't have this option.  I might see if I can get part of the garage warm enough to at least grow some cold weather crops inside next winter though!
Lettuce seedlings in the house
So far, my experiments in producing fresh food in the winter have mostly been in the areas of making bread or yogurt, so I look forward to playing with some of these other areas of food production next winter!  I am hoping that it will be a matter of playing though, since I am hoping to get enough out of my trailer park homestead this year that I'll be mostly set for those long, cold, winter months!

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