Food Storage

I know. Kinda gross. But in Scripture God tells us to be like the ant. Who stores away for the winter. They are such busy little creatures…always working, never idle. Sorry, don’t get the idea that I’m so diligent….I am idle from time to time.

Proverbs 31:25 says A wise woman “laughs at the days to come.”

Since all of our food is fresh it’s necessary to plan. Our chickens come from an Amish farmer and he can only raise pastured soy free chickens during the warm weather months. I know that is hard for some to believe. They probably have never thought where chickens even come from let alone the fact that they don’t do really well finding bugs and weeds in the snow! So, our chickens are available 3 times a year. I try to have 20 chickens in the freezer over the winter. That’s about 1 chicken a week for 5 months. Give or take.  Plus we have a Muscovy Duck waiting to be roasted.

(yes, even the heads and feet of the chickens for bone broth—can you make out the eye?)

Our beef comes from Sycamore Spring Farm and cattle are only processed 1 or 2 times a year. Given the fact that most animals give birth in the spring, it takes 12-18 months to raise them for slaughter.  Shorter time for young lamb and goat—3-6 months.  So, you can see none are processed in the winter.  Unless your farmer has a freezer full of meat for you to pick from, we’ve got to pack our own freezer.  Besides it’s much less expensive and makes eating healthy affordable.  In 2000, when we started buying sides of beef we payed $1.78/lb!!!  This year we paid, $3.65/lb.  It’s amazing how much the price has increased in 8 yrs.  But $3.65 was for ground, chucks, sirloin, and T-bone…not to mention all the other wonderful cuts that are packed in the freezer.  Every year we go through the steaks during the summer months when we are grilling and I save the roasts and stew meats for the winter.  Plus I got all the bones for broth, and the tallow for lard!  More burger than you can shake a stick at…..Mmmmm I’m thinking a pot of chili would be good about now, with these cold temp’s setting in.

Our raw dairy comes from an Amish farmer. Spring butter is only available in the spring! Ok, it’s also available during the summer and early fall. But if you want bright yellow butter during the winter, then you have to put it away for the winter. Because it’s green, green grass that makes bright yellow butter! And it’s the bright yellow butter that has more butterfat, Omega 6 & 3 fatty acids, Vit D, Vit A, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), lecithin, cholesterol, glycosphingloipids, trace minerals and Activator X.

(raw butter, rice, yeast, blueberries, green beans, lard)

We also live in a rural area that makes it difficult to get “to town” during bad winter weather. For that reason, I also keep a couple gallons of frozen raw milk on hand. As well as a small stockpile of necessities, like TP, Paper Towels, soap, tuna, rice, and various other non-perishable goods. Rice keeps well in the freezer since it does have the chance of going rancid. Other than that, a small shelf is room enough.  (Please don’t look at my shelves and think by any stretch of the imagination we are perfect….yes, Honey drinks Lipton decaff tea…as they say in the south…Sweet Tea!)

I’ve harvested most of my garden. My tomatoes are dried and packed in EVOO. My green beans are blanched and in the freezer. My potatoes are in layers of newspaper in a 5 gallon bucket. My cabbage is fermented. My cuc’s and peppers are also fermented. My elderberries are frozen in 1 gallon bags waiting to be used for syrups or T’ej. The salsa is fermented too. All the ferments will keep in the frig for at least a year, if not longer.

I still have fall potatoes in the ground, lettuce, spinach, kale and mustard greens that I hope to cover for the winter. My garlic should arrive soon and I’ll get that in before frost; Oct 16! The leeks are to winter over and I’ll cover around them with some straw. Fall beans are giving us enough for a meal a week.

I’ve also prepared most of my fresh herbal tinctures. I’ve got my cold remedy tinctures, my sleep helper tinctures and my Lyme tinctures. Since I like to keep my oils in the sun for 6 weeks, it’s best done during the hot summer months. If I need more oil then I’ll place the jars in my south facing window. I think it takes longer for them to infuse in the winter, but it can be done. I’ve got a small stock of Vit C, since once a cold hits it’s too late to order it. We always keep H2O2 on hand for gargling and Epsom salts for baths.

Having a food storage isn’t hard. It does take some thought. We’ve always lived 1/2 hr from “town” so I’ve only shopped 1x month for as long as I can remember. With an empty nest now, it’s even easier. Besides, most of what we need; meat, dairy, veggies, and eggs are already here. I only need a few perishables and necessities. I’ll try to keep and rotate 3-6 months worth at one time. If for some unforeseen circumstance, we should loose a paycheck or two or three, we don’t have to fret.

A wise woman looks after the ways of her household and laughs at the days to come! 😀

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