Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
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.
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 in the season.
I planted fast growing, hearty greens so they would be ready before it gets too cold. I cover the plants 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 fresh 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 and might get mouldy otherwise.
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 and 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 there is a lot of wild apple trees around where I live. I can just stop on the side of the road and pick from them.
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 or made in to apple sauce then frozen.
The apple sauce is a great accompaniment for roast pork and great in baking too.
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.
Making an easy tomato chutney is a great way to use up your green tomatoes and make them last all year long.
When storing it in sterilized jars they last for a long time. At least one year until it´s time to do a new batch.
I leave it in an outside cupboard where it’s dark and cool. I only store it in the fridge once its opened.
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 with a higher moisture content they don’t dry as well.
Autumn is also an important time of the year for hunting.
It’s deer hunting season as well as duck shooting season so there is plenty of food around in Autumn.
See my hunting for food page.
Try my venison, mushroom 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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