Cooler temperatures tell us it’s time to put the garden to bed and store the fall harvest to be enjoyed throughout the winter.
At my home, potatoes have been dug up (one of my favorite garden chores) and stored away in a dry, cool place. I have now harvested half the carrots and left the other half in the ground. The carrot tops have been removed from the carrots in the ground and covered with 16 inches of straw. In mid-to-late winter, I’ll be able to harvest out of the ground the sweetest, tastiest carrots ever because they over-winter well when covered deeply with straw or bags of leaves.
Also, my garden cart is heaped up full, with butternut, delicata and sweet meat squash and pumpkins. I bake and process the pumpkins for pies and soups.
I also like to roast the pumpkin seeds for munching while they last. One secret to tasty, nutritious pumpkin seeds is to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes.
Lastly, we’re enjoying kale and swiss chard in soups and stir-fries. More kale and chard have been frozen – hopefully enough to enjoy in soups and stews this winter and last until spring!
I have also just harvested the last of the beets and turnips and made fermented beets and turnips for the first time. I learned the art of fermenting from local fermentation guru, Maria Hodkins. It’s not to late to ferment just about any leftover/surplus veggies like carrots, cabbage, broccoli, onions, etc without using vinegar, pressure canners or freezers.
Fermentation, makes it’s own vinegar, so-to-speak, which is actually lactic acid produced by bacteria naturally present in our environment. Not only are the naturally occurring bacteria beneficial for health and eliminate the canning process, but the fermented veggies can be stored for months in cold storage or refrigerators.