Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Storing Up For The Winter

Yesterday I really tried to harvest some greens under my row cover. But did you know those nasty white butterflies really wake up early in the morning? I had to wait until today to do it. So I was out this morning at 6am. My chore was to get the mass of chard harvested so I could process it.

I chopped off the stems and cut the leaves up. Then boiled it for a few minutes before plunging it in ice. Now it is in the freezer. I freeze it in chunks that are about 3/4c. Though I use those plastic containers to form the chard ice cube, they don't stay in there long. Once they are frozen, they are demolded and put into ziploc bags. The plastic boxes take way too much space in the freezer.

Then I grated all the zucchini I had in the house and froze that too for my winter soups and zucchini bread. I was on a kick to save things for the winter because I had let a little mizuna and a little komatsuna get too old. I really try not to. Any excess ought to be preserved or given away.

As I was preserving today, I cut the oregano back hard and dehydrated it. Finally I have my own oregano again.

And can you believe I had the first harvest of beans today and didn't take a photo? OK there are only about four. I think by the end of the week beans will start piling up. I'm seeing more little beans and there are just tons of flowers on those plants.

Then I was faced with this. The dying peas. The snap peas still seem to be alive and producing, but both snap peas have seen better days. So they got pulled out and composted. I collected some dry pods for seed next year. Not enough, but some.

The space was seeded with carrot tapes that I made yesterday afternoon. They are now nicely under burlap. I hope they sprout well. Some years I can get carrots to sprout easily in the summer and sometimes it seems impossible.


  1. My peas look like that too. It hasn't been a good year for peas!

  2. When peas die-they really die. It's hard to pull em-it means the end of it, but ugh.

    Great idea for freezing the zuchinni. I do that with my strawberry sauce.Thaws quickly too.

  3. I have been stockpiling shredded zucchini too. I always hate when my peas turn brown like that. What kind of soup do you make out of the shredded zukes?

  4. That's great...to have something to look forward to for the winter!

  5. I'm getting ready to shred and freeze zucchini too :) I also need t omake pickles but worked too hard in the heat yesterday so Had to take a day of rest.

  6. Daphne, do you blanch your shredded zucchini before freezing?

  7. I have so much zucchini this year; unbelieveable. I've been making mini-loaves of chocolate chip zucchini bread for everyone. I getting ready to do the same thing you are - grate and freeze the rest. My garden is looking a little worn now also with the sweltering heat. Debi

  8. I've been saving those same containers for a while now. I think I will end up doing the exact same thing you are and saving as much as I can for the winter (or for a rainy day when the wife and I don't feel like cooking too much).

    Get those peas out of there and plant a fall crop in their place? :)

  9. Good idea about making a vegetable cube and then packaging them in combined groups. I do that with diced up items like celery and peppers etc... but had not thought about making a block like that and then packaging them up together afterwards.

    Those peas definitely look done. You got a good run out of them though.

  10. Good reminders. Even when I give some stuff to the chickens, I feel like I should have gotten it moved out earlier. I did get a run to the food bank done yesterday, though. Felt great, and kept the zucchini load down to an acceptable level.

  11. I love how you put so much away. I need to stop giving so much away and start freezing more.

  12. Sounds like you have been quite busy, I like how are processing the chard and pre-freezing it in small batches...excellent idea.

  13. Mark, so far my pea harvest has been pretty good. I broke the one lb/sqft mark this year on peas. I've never broken that mark before. But this spring I had pretty good germination. I think the sandy soil keeps the peas from rotting. With my old clay soil it was hard to get them up in the spring.

    Sue, Strawberry sauce sounds delicious.

    Kris, anyone I think it will go in. I don't always have recipes. But minestrone is great for shredded zukes.

    Charm, thanks

    Carol, I need to get my cucumbers going first before I can make pickles. Soon though.

    Norma, no I don't. The water will separate from the rest of the zucchini. But for zucchini bread it doesn't matter. Just make sure to put it all in water and all.

    Seven Gates Farm, I hope you get a break from the heat. We are getting a couple days of normal temps then we are going up again. Oh how I hate the heat.

    Ben, I kept one box (not pictured) for lunch yesterday. I figured I was going through all the work of making it that I ought to have some too.

    Laura, I've started my diced things too. I've done some diced sweet onion. I have to start doing the celery too. Those are not blocks though, they are like you do it. So you can just scoop out what you need.

    Stefaneener, I wish our food bank would take excess produce. They only do hard goods - things that don't spoil. Which is sad since it is just a few blocks from my house. It would be so easy to bring some over.

    Ribbit, Well I give it away too, but I do try to keep enough for the winter.

    Mr H, I'm the only one that eats it so the servings have to be something I'd eat. 3/4c of cooked chard is about as much chard as I can eat in a sitting. And it is a good amount for soups too.

  14. Thanks for reminding me - I need to dry herbs and make pesto. By basil is due to be cut back. I've been giving away a lot of our zucchini. I still have a ton in the freezer from last year but unfortunately, it's close to its expiration date.

  15. LOL My peas look just like that. Hubby and I pulled them all out and tossed them into the compost as well last night. Italian Rose beans are going in there next!

  16. Do you use freezer ziplocks? If I can produce any zucchini this year I'd like to save it for bread this winter, but it seems like it would get a freezer frosty and gross. How long does it keep? (And where are you saving those containers from? Just curious) :) Awesome garden.


  17. Thomas, yeah I've found it keeps for a year well, but not much longer. I finally used up the last of mine a couple of weeks ago. Now I have to make more.

    Tamara, It was good fodder for the compost pile. So much plant material.

    Gayle, yes I use freezer ziplocks. The trick to saving food for the winter is to have a chest freezer. Regular fridges are auto defrost. They do this by heating up the walls of the freezer. This is not good for the food in it. A regular fridge will keep veggies good for about 2 months maybe. A chest freezer (with no auto defrost) will keep food good for a year. There is a very big difference between the two. The containers are typical takeout containers. Though I bought a ton of them ages ago (they are only sold in wholesale quantities). So my son uses them, my townhouse mates use them and I use them. I like them because they stack well. I've never liked things like tupperware or rubbermaid. The lids are hard to deal with and they don't stack nearly as well.

  18. Thank you for the chard freezing tips. I am contemplating at the moment whether I should freeze some or not. My peas are dying too because I plant them too early.