Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fresh From the Store, or Frozen From the Garden?

Hi all!

I've been a fairly strict raw foodist for quite a while now. However, this summer,, I have found myself going away from that somewhat. Instead of living strictly on raw foods, I've begun to live strictly on foods that make me feel good, and foods that meet my needs well, without necessarily always being raw, or fruit.

For those who don't know me, I am a 17 year old vegan hippie child living smack dab in the middle of Wisconsin. Summer is a wonderful time for me, because summers in WI are gorgeous. Especially this year, we've had a perfect amount of rain and everything is green and lush and beautiful.

We maintain 3 huge, magnificent gardens, plus a blueberry patch, an apple orchard, some grape vines, and 2 raspberry patches.

Here's the first, where we're growing zucchini, spaghetti squash, pumpkins, and a whole lot of canaloupe. Behind it you can see our blueberry and yellow raspberry patch.

Here's garden #1. This guy's the main garden, the star of the it we've got zucchini, cucumber, watermelon, cantaloupe, corn (which the raccoons keep getting to before us), red & yellow potatoes, sweet potatoes, and a million different kinds of peppers and tomatoes. Plus herbs like parsley, basil, and cilantro.

This is garden #2, where we grow most of our green veggies and such, that don't take up quite as much space - lettuce mix, kale, chard, chinese cabbage, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, onions, carrots, beets, dill, and cilantro. Behind, you can see our cute little apple orchard.

And finally, here's our asparagus, rhubarb, grape vines (they took a pretty serious hit last year,, there was a bad storm, which knocked them over, combined with last years drought - we're lucky we've still got grapes), and our red & black raspberry patch!

Oh, and just for good measure, here's our awesome compost pile that keeps everything in our garden so healthy!

These are BIG gardens, and there are only 4 of us - and nobody else in my family are as big of plant eaters as I. Which leaves us with a lot of extra produce!

In past years I, being the young, over-zealous and dogmatic raw vegan I was, felt that it would be better to eat only fresh produce from the store during the winter, than blanched, pickled, or dehydrated produce from our garden.

However, this summer, I've been starting to feel like I was so wrong. The produce I buy in the winter is conventional, where as what's in our garden is basically uncertified organic. Our produce has life force, and I have been lovingly involved in every step of its maturation. I'm finding I'd much rather get my nutrients from slightly processed, preserved homegrown produce than from questionable store-bought lettuce all winter. I'm kinda thinking low-/salt/-free, prefrably canning-free homesteading is the way to go.

So this summer, we've frozen several bags of kohlrabi and broccoli, and theres still more coming! I have bein dehydrating zucchini with some yummy salt-free Penzey's seasonings every day for the past week now, and I've also made a few dill & chipotle cucumber chips with our plethora of cucumbers (and dill lol). I've been making jar after jar of "freezer pickles" - I'll definitely do a post on that, promise! And we'll be making tomato sauce and salsa when Mom and I get back from the Woodstock Fruit Festival 2013 (you can bet your booty I'll made a post on that, too!), and we we will be roasting and freezing most of our peppers. Finally, potatoes and sweet potatoes will be stored the root cellar for future use - and I plan on eating them. Even though they are not raw. (DUN DUN DUN.....) Only for dinner though. I still love getting my fruit on!

So, thats basically whats been going on with me! Keep tuned for more posts in the future - mom and I have a 20hr car ride ahead of us, so I should have a great plenty of time to type, haha.


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