Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Notes on Self-sufficient eating

Tonight's dinner: wild Nebraska pheasant (procured on our recent trip to the miserable, flat prairie-land of Nebraska) with wild rice and home-grown steamed kohlrabi and carrots.

The carrots are stored in the basement in a plastic tub full of damp sand. This seems to be a fairly useful way of storing fresh carrots, the benefit over freezing them being that we can grate a fresh carrot on our salad even in the dead of winter, or have carrot sticks with our sandwiches. I froze some and stored some fresh this way, and I'm glad for it.


Always wear gloves when digging blindly in a sand bin full of carrots. Not all carrots come through this storage process in as great of shape as we'd like, and grabbing a handful of sand mixed with rotten, slimy, mushy carrot is unpleasant. Really, really unpleasant. At least gloves decrease the gag factor a bit.

Another note: If you're going to be eating wild meat killed with a shotgun, buy a shot detector. How cool is this? It's a miniature metal detector that you use to 'scan' your meat to check for little bits of shot. Side note for those with less experience: a shotgun shell (not bullet, as my husband will surely correct you) is used for killing small game and wild birds. It's a little round packet of tiny little BB's that spread when the shot is fired, thus effective spraying the animal as it tries to get away. Very useful, but it has a tendency to leave little bits of metal scattered throughout the bird that you're going to be serving your family for dinner. The little shot detector thingamajig makes breaking one's tooth a bit less likely. Good investment.

The food I've put by for winter is holding up quite well - I was afraid it would be gone by January, but there should be enough in there to last another few months at the rate we're going. We eat something self-provided for most every meal. The grocery bill is surprisingly low, even for the fairly healthy diet we eat. I'm afraid we're going to drown in apricots if we don't start eating them faster though, and I'm pretty sure everyone will be getting a jar of peach salsa for Christmas next year. On the other hand, we're working our way through the strawberry jam at an alarming rate, thanks in part to the fact that we discovered how tasty it is when mixed with homemade yogurt. It's such an interesting process, seeing how much of each thing we need to have on hand to last a whole year. Some day - maybe - I'll have it all down to a science, with written records of exactly how much of each thing I need to make. Until then, we'll try mixing canned peaches with the yogurt instead, and maybe back off the PB&J's just a little. :-)

What are all my other homesteader/foodie friends doing to keep their bellies full this winter?

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