The root cellar is starting to look a little more bare.
The carrots are now completely done; actually, they did not make it past the first bit of February before we weren’t really able to find non-bitter carrots. I didn’t mind them being wrinkly, especially if we were using them in soups and stews, but I don’t tolerate bitter very well. The goats are enjoying them as treats we dole out, however, so it is not a total waste.
The cabbages still look more or less fine. As in last month, the outer leaves have dried out and discolored, but the heads themselves are still firm and tasty.
About half the remaining beets are fine – still firm and not sprouting too much. The other half are starting to go soft, but are still completely edible.
The potatoes are fine. I am still amazed by the potatoes.
The onions are going strong, but we are running out. We are down to the little ones that are a pain in the butt, because you need 3 or 4 for a recipe. Next year, we plan to plant 50% more – 600 sets, instead of 400. It does not appear that they will rot before we can use them up, even the tiny ones, which is great.
The squash seem to have hit a wall this month. About half of the remaining pumpkins, as well as a couple of the spaghetti squash, sprouted black gooey spots and mold in late February. I am not certain if they just hit their ‘use by’ dates, or if it had something to do with us moving them into a different room of the house (they had to be moved, as we were painting the room they had been in). The new room is just as cool as their former location, but may have had higher humidity. Also, they wound up being more bunched together, rather than being spread out on the floor, simply due to the fact that we were putting a lot of stuff in that room in order to be able to paint the other room – air flow may have been an issue, as well. At any rate, they were not a total waste, as the chickens really appreciate the squash, so we cut out the black and mushy bits to compost, and fed the rest to the poultry.
So as far as veggies go, we’ve already started having to buy carrots, and will be buying onions soon. We’re fine for potatoes and cabbage, and the beets are so-so. Suddenly, I am really noticing how well-suited the basic Ukrainian diet is for this region – perogies are flour dough, potatoes, onions, saurkraut, and cheese – things that store well here. Same with borscht – beets and cabbage and sour cream. Something to keep in mind when you’re planning your winter meals, anyhow.
As far as the other food storage goes, we’re starting to run out of some things. I made too much jam and jelly this year, or did not give enough away, or something, but those shelves are still quite full. We have not used any of the fruit syrup we made, though we’ve given some away, and it was very appreciated. We still have lots of pears, peaches, and raspberries, but those are ones that always last fine through the winter and disappear in a flash come hot weather. Salsa, however, we’re rationing, as we’d rather not have to buy it – it’s expensive, and not nearly as tasty from the store. I should can several times as much this fall (if I can find the energy!).
The frozen stuff is much the same. We have plenty of some things (corn, peas), too much of others (wax beans), and not nearly enough of a few things (peaches, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, mangoes). I don’t think I miscalculated that badly on the fruit; I just seem to be having smoothies a lot more often than I used to. I blame it on the pregnancy – I crave cold stuff frequently, but don’t want to load up on ice cream, so I make a nice, healthy smoothie, instead…almost daily…and have decimated my frozen fruit supply in the process. Next year, we’ll put up extra, especially with the extra freezer downstairs, although it is fairly full with chicken, right at the moment.
Overall, we’re doing not bad. I am not too happy about the squash crashing like it has, and we’re spreading them out better in an effort to get better air flow to the survivors. I suspect that squash could store a whole lot longer, anyhow. I’m still very happy with the potatoes, cabbage, and beets, and I have some ideas for how to stretch the carrots next year. Onions – like I said, we’ll be planting a lot more come spring. And we’ll adjust what we plant for the freezer (more peas, fewer beans) as well as making more of an effort to get fruit in the freezer, and spending maybe a little less effort on the jams and jellies. We’ll get it all figured out eventually!