I’m overdue for a new “What’s New In My Kitchen” series! Although summer is usually a time of less hot and hearty meals (except for this chilly summer), the rest of the time in my kitchen is spent preserving and preparing for fall/winter. We do this for a few reasons. For one, I love to eat seasonally as much as possible, but I also love to save what we are able to get locally and harvest on our own to enjoy in the off season. Second, the fall is a really busy time for our family with birthday, Halloween, preparing for Christmas, Sew Bright market prep (and my busiest sales season), hunting season and my husband is often away a lot for work during this time, so I like to be as prepared as I can. Freezer meals are a blessing during this time! And third, the winter can be slow for work for my husband, so if we have a freezer stocked of meat, fresh fruit, freezer meals and a pantry full of canning then that means less money is spent on food, which goes a long way at the time. Not to mention the food we are eating is so much better for us and the environment!
You can read more HERE about some of the prep we did for last winter!
I’m only just starting my fall/winter food prep, but I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing so far this year and a few things I have planned. I’ll keep you updated on my Instagram stories once I get into more canning!
A couple weeks ago my mom and I got this great idea to make fireweed syrup… We thought about making jelly, but figured we might use syrup more. We were surrounded by wildfires last year so there is no shortage of fireweed in our parts! It is such a beautiful wildflower, it grows along roadways and all over in unburned areas too.
We started following a recipe, but ended up adding more water, more sugar, more water and even MORE sugar so I don’t have a recipe to share, but I’m sure if you do some Google or Pintrest searching you can find something to get you started too!
The flavour was pretty good (well, anything with that much sugar would be!) and it was fun to make and we’ll eat what we have, but I don’t think it’s something I’d be making every year.
This has definitely been the year of the mushroom! We had heard about morel mushroom picking in burned areas after wildfires, however I really didn’t have an appreciation for the magnitude of it until experiencing it this spring! People came from all over the world just to pick mushrooms here! Yes, we even met people from Czech Republic who came to not only Canada, but the middle of nowhere, to pick mushrooms where the wildfire came through. Apparently it’s quite the thing. There were several fires last summer, but we were picking from the Nadina Wildfire because my parents have Nadina Lake Lodge and that’s our hang out. Needless to say, we jumped on the bandwagon and found ourselves spending many days picking mushrooms! We sold some to the buyers, dried some for ourselves and friends and we have some extra dried ones for sale! Just shoot me an email if you’d like to purchase some! firstname.lastname@example.org
My 4.5 year old was right in there getting dirty! She was great at picking the ones under logs and in spots that were hard for us adults to reach! She had her own basket that we picked up from the local thrift store and used scissors to cut the mushrooms, it worked great. Although she really was a trooper going over and under all those burnt logs and being out in the bugs, she had her moments, but it was all worth it… as a true mother would say! She even earned some money for her wallet and bank too!
I’m not a huge mushroom person, but I did really enjoy them fried up with onion and butter over the fire and served on a burger. Pretty dang good! If you’re interested in purchasing some, I will be shipping too, just let me know! We have some in vacuum sealed packages or in mason jars (jars are local pick up only).
We also got this mushroom, it’s a giant puff ball! Well I don’t know if it’s called “giant” but it’s big! I’ve currently got it drying and going to try making mushroom seasoning salt with it, click HERE for the recipe.
Saskatoon Berries & Cherries
We can never have enough berries or fruit in the freezer! We eat them all year round, throw a handful in cereal or oatmeal, eat frozen, in smoothies, crisp, muffins, you name it, we eat it. I love being able to pick wild berries because they taste delicious and are free 🙂
Thanks to a friend we found a new Saskatoon Berry spot this year and picked just over 2 Ziplock bags full, plus I made a rustic tart, you NEED the recipe in your life! Click HERE for it.
FREEZING TIP: We now freeze all our berries individually before putting them in bags so they don’t clump together and you can easily grab just a handful. To do this I put parchment on a cookie sheet and freeze just enough to get started then place in the bag. Works like a charm, but don’t forget the parchment.
I also got talked into buying a case of BC Cherries from the local food truck and ended up pitting them, drying some and freezing the rest. They will be so good in smoothies this winter though, I can’t wait!
For the first time about a month ago I made gnocchi and decided to take a chance a new recipe by starting out with a double batch the first go around. Luckily it turned out, so we have lots of gnocchi in the freezer!
For supper that night I made a browned butter sage sause with sage from the garden and it was so good! Super easy, about 1/4 cup fried butter, then add chopped fresh sage and drizzle over gnocchi.
I was a bit late planting this year and the garden is still growing, but so far I have some spinach frozen and I plan to freeze more along with some kale. I’ll likely dry hot peppers, if we get any, and maybe freeze or dry a few more herbs (I have dried chives, sage and lavender so far). If you’re looking for a few things to do with lavender, check THIS blog post! I love the lemon poppyseed scones so much I made a double batch for the freezer too!
Most things we will continue to eat fresh. Oh and zucchini of course will be used for relish and I’ll have a bunch of garlic for fall/winter.
Other things on my list are to pick and freeze raspberries, wild huckleberries, can pickles, maybe picked carrots (I need to check to see how many we have left from last year), make and can zucchini relish (this week!), maybe can peaches or pears, freeze peaches (we did this last year and my gosh we sure enjoyed those peaches in the winter!), can and freeze tomatoes and make salsa. Definitely need a double batch on the salsa, we went through it quickly last year.
Shop this post (a few things I use for canning):
I really like the tool kit, the funnel and magnetic stick for getting the hot jar lids are the tools I use the most. I also highly recommend the book below, it’s a great resource for getting starting and my go too for any questions related to canning.
Do you preserve or do any food prep for fall/winter? I need some more freezer meal ideas and would love to hear what you’ve got planned!
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