We’ve been learning so much in the last few weeks. The bumper crops from the farm and garden have made us do a bit more research into preserving, storage and preparation. Also, gardening in the winter has been on the radar.
We’ve always talked about but never tried planting things for the winter here. But I went to the Rocky Mountain Seed Company, and got a few tips. This year we’re going for it!
Plant Something – spinach, beets, radishes and lettuce. Also, bought some little pots of herbs to put int the kitchen. I’m not great with potted plants, but I have a good feeling about these ones.
Harvest Something– eggs: in fact, so many eggs that I have three egg cartons in the fridge, and one is an 18 egg carton! Also mint, tomatoes, chard, zucchini, and on the farm we picked melons and winter squash!
Preserve Something – beans, corn and carrots into the freezer, canned peaches, peach jam.
Waste Not – How about this – I went to the Goodwill on Sunday to get more jars for canning. They were $1.00 each (too much!), but while I was there they announced that Monday everything would be 50% off. So I went back Monday morning, and got two books and 19 jars for fifty cents each. AND they had a 2002 Burley d’Lite for $74.99. I got it for half that! $37.50!! It needs a cover, and that will probably be about $100 or less. Still an incredible deal!! I did not waste money this week!
Want Not/Prep & Storage - started a food journal to track what’s being grown and stored, how much, and how long it lasts!
Build Community Food Systems – We are thinking of trying to sell a dozen eggs a week (I’m afraid to commit to more), and that money would help off-set the feed costs for the hens. I’d like it to be to one person every week… someone who’s committed to buying them, I don’t really have time to market them. Let me know if you’re in the area and want to buy a dozen eggs from free-range, pastured chickens!
Harvest Stuffed Peppers
This recipe makes enough hash to stuff four peppers (serve four people), but I only stuff two for Rick and I. The remaining hash gets divided into two portions – one for Henry, and one for Rick’s lunch the next day.
2 bell peppers that can stand on their ends
2 medium sized potatoes
1/2 white or yellow onion
1 or 2 peeled carrots
1 small or medium sized squash
1/2 to 3/4 cup protein of choice: left over diced ham is in the picture, but eggplant, eggs, ground beef or sausage works great too.
Fresh torn basil – to taste
Salt & pepper
2 TBS olive oil
Cut the tops off of the peppers, remove seeds and ribs and set peppers aside. Chop all other ingredients into a 1/4-inch dice. In a 12-inch skillet with a lid heat olive oil; add potatoes, onions and carrots. Season well with salt and pepper. Put on lid and let cook over medium, stirring to keep from sticking to bottom of the pan, until onions are soft and the potatoes and carrots are on their way to being cooked through.
Add squash (sometimes I add the pepper tops too). Let cook uncovered until potatoes are almost tender, stirring as needed to keep from sticking.
Add cooked meat (or raw eggplant), and basil. Mix well, taste and adjust for seasoning. Scoop mixture (which I call hash) into the peppers. Place peppers in a rimmed pan and bake at 375 until heated through and potatoes are done. They could also be finished on the grill instead of the oven.
Note that this is one of those recipes that ends up catching all the random veggies in the kitchen that need using. It’s great with mushrooms, garlic, eggplant, celery, zucchini, extra peppers, even a tomato added at the end. It would also be great topped with grated cheese.