As the summer comes to a close, many people who look to more sustainable means for living also start to consider what long-term storage foods they should stock up on for the autumn and winter. The general rule of thumb is that foods which come to harvest at a certain time should also be stored for the following season.
For individuals who maintain a garden or trade produce with other in the community, it is also a good time to look at variety in long-term food storage. Some people do have prolific plots for growing food, but others may be more casual in their selection of plants. However, foods to store in the fall will also be ones that provide nutrients that will be necessary in the coming months.
• Tubers and root vegetables – these will last a season in cold storage, and have important enzymes and carbohydrates that help the body get through the colder months. In storing these foods, it is also important to regularly check for eyes and any growth, as the affected vegetables should be removed and kept for next year’s planting.
• Gourds, winter squash, and pumpkins – these are highly nutritious in beta carotenes, as well as a number of trace minerals, and can also be kept in cold storage, but usually for a month at most. Better long-term food storage for these can include gutting and cutting them before freezing, or canning the meat as a puree.
• String beans – these are ideal to store, either through canning or through blanching and then freezing them. Beans are high in protein and fiber, and can add variety to the winter.
• Blackberries – the combination of season and value makes it important to keep blackberries in long-term food storage. These are a good source of vitamin C and are also effective with minor winter ailments including stomach upset and flu. They can be stored as whole berries by fresh freezing them in airtight containers, or they can be cooked into a jelly and canned.