One of our goals with our garden is to provide as much of our food year-round as possible. During the Alaska Food Challenge in 2011-2, we had no idea how much food to put away. I put away way too much kale and shredded zucchini. We now have a better idea of how much food to put away, although each year the exact composition depends on what did well in the garden that year. Last year we had a ridiculous overabundance of winter squash (I still have some under the bed), and this year we only got 8. This year we did really well with tomatoes and tomatillos while the potatoes and peas, two reliable producers, struggled.
This year we froze about 48 pounds of vegetables and 13 gallons of berries. Most vegetables are frozen in 1/2 pound packages which I have found to be a good portion for us and the recipes we use. The major player here are: romanesco (6#), broccoli (8#), beans (3.5#), kale (5.5#), zucchini (6#), celery (8#), leeks (6#). Berries are frozen whole on sheet pans and then put in gallon ziplocks.
In our root cellar we have approximately 7 gallons of carrots, 8 gallons of potatoes, 3 gallons of beets, 3 gallons Jerusalem artichokes, 4 gallons parsnips, and 4 gallons of apples. We have 4 cases of sauerkraut, 3 cases of fermented tomatillo salsa, as well as a few jars of pickles. We canned 3 cases of tomatoes and 2 cases of applesauce.
In the house we have 8 winter squash, two gallon ziplocks with dried herbs, and herbs frozen into ice cubes. We also have 2 gallons of honey from our bees and a (somewhat) steady supply of eggs. All this is from our 9,000 square foot city lot.
Additionally, we put away about 100 pounds of pork products, almost 100 pounds of salmon and salmon products (sausage and smoked), and 70 pounds of caribou. We canned two cases of crabapple sauce from our neighbor’s tree. We dried a quart of bolete mushrooms. And we picked 2 gallons of blueberries.
Every year we get better at getting ready for winter. I’ve learned to put things away throughout the summer instead of all at the end. I’m faster at blanching and I have my systems for packaging salmon and caribou down. It isn’t this big, exhausting unknown thing anymore. It has become a part of our routine, what we do in our daily lives. And I have to say, it is a really rewarding way to live!