Last night was stored food for dinner night. We had instant mashed potatoes, apple sauce, pickles,canned corn, biscuits and a scrambled hamburger with onions, peppers and lots of spices. I made the hamburger because I had thawed it for a meal the night before and then made something else. To be a totally stored food meal, I would have used canned roast beef.

There is a reason the Native Americans called February/March the Hungry Months. The pickles are getting soft, I am nearly out of potatoes and what I have left must be saved for seed. The only applesauce left has a slightly burned flavor and canned vegetables are vile. To add insult to injury, I opened up my last jar of canned blueberries this morning thinking I would serve that with the leftover biscuits and found mold ON MY BLUEBERRIES!!!! I can deal with the pickles. I will live with the applesauce. But my blueberries are my babies.I consider onions (starting to sprout), garlic(all gone) and peppers (at least I have a lot of dried left)to be cooking necessities. I am going to have to put out actual money to buy enough to get through until harvest.

I could eat for a long time on what I still have stored but the truth of it is that food fatigue would surely set in without some of the good stuff. I am so glad I planted more than double the garlic last fall as I did the year before. I can use wild ramps and early bunching onions until harvest. I hate canned vegetables. I have cases of them in the cellar pantry. At the slow rate I can get my family to eat them, I will not need to restock the case lots for years.

There is always the pull between preparedness and eating local, healthy food. Canned food is cheap, accessible and it will last a long time but we all hate it and it’s terrible from an environmental perspective. Fresh produce from own garden is amazing but I live in Massachusetts and, even with the greenhouse, can’t eat fresh all year. Frozen, dried and pickled work for different foods but nothing keeps forever and I can only put up so much. It’s easy to say that if we are hungry we won’t complain but I bet we do complain, especially the kids.

One of my many goals this year is to work on my cooking skills so I can make better use of all my food. We need to eat more dried beans for sure and I have to incorporate more sprouts. I also have to grow a lot more inside. I have a room upstairs that we use as a storage space for the bulk food as well as a spare bedroom. If guests already have to sleep in a room with wall to wall 6 gallon buckets of sugar, salt, wheat, oats, flour, corn and rice, I suppose they can get used to pots of tomatoes and green beans. Until I can get this food thing right, we will be eating canned corn (not terrible), canned peas( pretty bad) and canned green beans(simply hideous) at least once a week. It’s a good thing I make great biscuits.

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