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Autumn is a busy time of the year planning and preparing for winter.
Making sure I have homegrown and wild food stored away and frozen to enjoy in winter are essential steps to self sufficient living.
Make the most of your homegrown vegetables and find the best methods to store and preserve them for winter. Freeze, pickling, store and make preserves are my main ways to be self sufficient with homegrown vegetables all year around.
You can read more about Preserving and storing food for winter here.
Autumn is my least favorite time of the year when it comes to the garden work. Most of my summer vegetable plants have stopped producing and died off or are about to.
In autumn I pull all the dead plants out and keep any seeds for replanting next season.
I planted more hearty greens in late summer which are producing in late-autumn and winter.
It’s great to have fresh greens again this late. I planted fast growing, hearty greens so they would be ready before it got to cold. I also cover the area with a frost cloth to keep the warmth in and the frost out. It works really well and provides a self sustaining garden that produces green vegetables all year around.
Fresh vegetables still growing in my garden in autumn are: lettuce, coriander, bok choi, wombok cabbage, kale, spinach, pumpkin and broccoli side shooter.
Storing and preserving
Preserving as much as I can in autumn and put my root vegetables in storage for winter is important for self-sufficient living.
It’s best to dig my root vegetables up before the ground gets too wet as they don’t store well if they are in wet ground when dug up.
I place the root vegetables in crates with newspaper on top and bottom. Don’t wash them or remove the dirt. I keep them in a dark cool place with good air circulation. They keep pretty well (a couple of months) especially the potatoes.
If I notice they start to go soft and won’t keep well for much longer then I make batches of soup and freeze it.
Carrots can be blanched and frozen or made into hummus or chutney. Beetroot can be pickled. I try not to let anything go to waste. It’s a pretty busy time of the year.
Food crates like these are good for longtime storage of vegetables. They stack on top of each other and allow for great airflow
I pick fruits like apples and pears and preserve them. Either freeze them or make chutneys and jellies out of them.
I don’t have any fruit trees myself but a few of my friends do and they are happy for us to come and pick some. Apples and pears can be frozen very easily and then used in baking for the rest of the year.
They can be peeled and cut then frozen raw in freezer bags. I also make a lot of apple sauce and freeze it. The apple sauce is a great accompaniment for roast pork and I use it in baking too.
We also eat apple sauce for breakfast or afternoon snack. Just the sauce slightly warm in a bowl with milk or as a topping on yogurt or porridge.
There is a lot of wild apple trees around where we are. We can just stop on the side of the road and pick from them.
When the tomatoes has stopped ripening, I pick all the green tomatoes and make jam and chutney, which is an excellent accompaniment for cheese and roast meat.
I also make a green salsa with the green tomatoes if I have fresh coriander in the garden. Green salsa is something we use a lot of. Its a great table sauce for a BBQ.
Sometimes I just crumb the green tomatoes and fry them in butter and serve as a side vegetable with meat.
Autumn is the time of the year for wild mushrooms in the paddocks, garden and parks.
Field mushrooms mainly grow in the paddocks. They are best picked and cooked fresh.
Birch bolete mushrooms mainly grow in the garden and parks, I prefer to slice them thin, dry and store them in zip lock bags in the cupboard.
They store really well for at least one year if I dry them properly. Once dried they are easily added to soups, stews and sauces. I prefer the flavor and texture when dried first. The flavor tends to intensify and the texture are firmer.
That’s the only two wild mushrooms I pick in New Zealand. There are a few more edible ones but it’s the only two types that I feel confident to identify, and they are delicious to eat.
I have tried pine bollet before, a similar mushroom to the porcini (birch bollet) but I don’t like them as much and they don’t dry as well. (They have more moisture content in them).
Autumn is also an important time of the year with hunting.
It’s deer hunting season as well as duck hunting season so there is plenty of food around in Autumn.
See my hunting for food page.
Try my venison stew and venison schnitzel recipe. Or this roasted wild duck.
Read my tips and favorite ways to cook venison here
Check the links below for ways to be self sufficient in the other seasons. What I do and what they bring.
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