Day 3 of the 100-yard diet

Tuesday: day 3

I missed breakfast this morning, so I had an early lunch of yesterday’s leftovers; falafel in pita and leftover red pepper and squash soup. The soup thickened when it was chilled and was a great sauce. The heat from the hot peppers comes through.

For dinner, I made turkey soup. I sauted onions, added stock, added a lot of potatoes, carrots and green beans, and the leftover turkey meat. The turkey was smoked so the soup has a smokey flavor, I didn’t even bother to go outside to pick sage or thyme. We usually add noodles (ah, refined flour) but not today. There’s one pita roll left from yesterday that we split to go along with the soup. I sliced a cucumber also, since the one yesterday was so good; it’s an heirloom cucumber called Uzbkski.

Today we also had a dessert. This was an experimental dish, with squash, eggs, milk, honey, and soft goat cheese. It came out very tasty but really misses vanilla and spices like nutmeg.

I’ve done a little googling on locavore (who knew there was a name for what I try to do?). One group in the bay area has a whole month long challenge, not just a week, and it moves from year to year. This year is supposed to be an emphasis on food preservation. And this is the time of year to think about it, if you have a garden.

We eat a lot of our own food all year, but canning is just not a big part of this. Canning uses so much energy and generates so much heat – boiling gallons of water for 10-40 minutes… While I have heard that it takes more energy to run a freezer for a year than to can the same amount of food, we have to run the freezer anyway since it’s full of lamb and turkey. So the total additional energy for us to to freeze food: nothing, and in fact a full freezer is more efficient.

Canning is used for jam, pickles, tomato sauce and juice (maybe a dozen quarts each). And we freeze some foods. But the best way to eat is right out of the garden – there’s something growing in our garden all year, even carrots and kale in January, that we can pick fresh. And “root cellaring” (we use an unheated storage space) lets us keep potatoes, squash, onions and garlic through March, depending on how warm it gets. No energy at all. We also dry a lot of tomatoes (boy, do we dry a lot of tomatoes). In our dry climate here, and with the steady hot wind in summer, you don’t really need an electric dehydrator. Screened racks in the wind will dry tomatoes in a couple of summer days.

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