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It's harvest season - what are you buying for the winter?

 
gardener
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In the midst of bringing in my own garden, it's also the time of year when produce is cheap and plentiful in stores and at farmer's markets.

I'm eyeing deer apples at $15 for a 50 lb bag - yes, I eat deer apples. Apple sauce, apple pie filling, dried apples ...
I bought a 10 lb bag of onions which ought to last at least a month. It's too hot in our basement to buy more than that.
I want to go down to the city and get the flyer special of butternut and buttercup squash and Thanksgiving turkey. My squash did poorly this year so I want some for the pantry. Turkey is the cheapest I have seen meat in months so I will buy one for the freezer, too.  I may buy carrots as well.


What's on your fall buying list? What do you do to store it?
 
pollinator
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Buy deer apples? With, like, actual cash? In my part of the world people are begging someone to come and get their free crabapples. Check Kijiji/Craigslist and save your cash. My 2c.
 
pollinator
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I wish deals like that happened here, they don't, things don't drop in price whatever the time of year is, well not to "cheap" prices, they come down from new season prices but not to bulk discount rates.  However people do try to give away apples, plums etc you will have to pay a small amount for but apples can be gotten free.
The only thing I can think of is probably like your deer apples, but they are horse carrots...
 
pollinator
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Deer Apples! Thank you - I know them as crab apples. Knowing what they’re called in North America is a great help. I grew up eating my Dad’s crab apple jelly. I would love to source some and make a batch myself. Thank you Catie and Douglas.
 
gardener
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We are lucky here with apples.  Our food forest is just coming on line and we have had a couple bushels of apples.  My dads food forest is older and produces apples by the truck load.  It is interesting to see the different areas and what they have right now.  We stock up on wheat from a local organic grower.  We stock up on cider from a local guy that has a really nice press and makes really good cider.  We hope to get our cider press up and running next year.  We also usually stock up on hay, but this year we made enough by hand to fill the whole hay mow. The monarchs flew south this week, so we plan on making hay from all the mature clover in the food forest next week.  I think we are ready for a cold hard winter.
 
gardener
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Haha, no, crabapples are called crabapples in North America. I'm North American and I've never heard the phrase "deer apples" before, but I'm guessing it means apples that the grower thinks are not worth eating or selling to humans. Crabapples are specifically small.

Storing things up for winter has great importance where I live in the Indian Himalayas because the roads into our region from outside close due to snow on the high passes for about 4 months, and then usually it's impossible to buy fresh produce.So I avidly store food for winter: mostly drying because it's dead easy in this desert climate, but also some canning, pickling, and some live storage. Last winter the local government subsidized a regular cargo flight so some fresh produce actually did remain available for most of the winter, though there were gaps. Also when the road reopened there were covid restrictions so the trucks couldn't get through promptly, or I couldn't get to the market, so my stored stuff turned out to be very valuable again.

My fruit trees are still small so I bought fruit back in August and made jam.

I've been harvesting tomatoes and making puree and freezing it until I had enough to can, but I also dry my tomatoes so I don't have enough for all the puree I want to make. I canned a mix of my own tomatoes and locally bought ones.

I'll buy a kg of garlic and make garlic confit, and I'll buy a kg of lemons to make Moroccan salted lemons and other lemon pickles.

Mushrooms, even just plain button mushrooms, have become extremely irregularly available here, not only in winter when they won't be at all available, so last year I bought a small case and dried them. Dried button mushrooms are delicious!  

I'll buy and dry several kilos each of other vegetables, for variety in winter: brinjal (eggplant/aubergine), bitter gourd, maybe a little bit of green pepper. I already bought and dried broccoli because it's my favorite, and I didn't have enough in the garden to dry for the year. I haven't used up last year's cauliflower so this year I didn't do any and dried more broccoli instead. I didn't use up last year's green peas, even though I only had a little and they were good, but anyway I've missed the season. I've also missed the season for green beans, even though last year I finally cracked how to dry them well (cut them in short pieces, like under one inch).

I won't be buying any starchy vegetables because I grew way too much winter squash this year.
 
steward
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"Deer apples" are not typically crab apples where I live.  They're full sized or undersized apples that don't grade high enough to sell to people.  One year I got 7 bushels of Honeycrisp deer apples.  The only problem was some scab.  The applesauce didn't mind at all
 
Mike Haasl
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Peppers didn't grow well for me so I bought some of them to chop and freeze.  Normally the only things I get to buy when they're cheap this time of year is canning ingredients to go along with my tomatoes.  I could use my own onions, carrots and jalapenos but it's cheaper to buy organic and store my own produce for the winter.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Mike Haasl wrote:"Deer apples" are not typically crab apples where I live.  They're full sized or undersized apples that don't grade high enough to sell to people.


Ah! I misunderstood. Thanks for clarifying!
 
Catie George
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Yup, deer apples are scabby or oddly sized local apples without the shiny coating of wax meant for feeding the deer. You can get even cheaper ones, but they are often bruised windfall apples. I am just a bit north of apple growing area - if I happen to be south and pass by a roadside stand I might pick up a bushel of eating apples too.

It's funny, I haven't seen anyone with a crab apple tree that produces anything bigger than a cherry pit sized fruit. I also love crab apples and grew up eating them from the tree. I ran drove probably 25 km looking for crab apples last fall on old fencelines, nothing posted on Kijiji/Facebook.

 
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I haven't seen anyone with a crab apple tree that produces anything bigger than a cherry pit sized fruit



Hmmm. Our biggest are golf ball size. I'll check the trees & see if there are still some left to gather some seeds for y'all. Will report back here if there is.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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I have crab apples the same size as a smallish supermarket apple. A lot of work has been done to develop hardy varieties for cold climates. Typically they are grafted onto a very hardy root stock.
 
pollinator
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Deer apples is a new phrase for me, too.

I don't get good deals on produce here in the fall, either. Farmers markets and fruit stands are always more expensive than the grocery store. I'm fine with that, since they're real people trying to support themselves. But I don't stock up on fresh produce. There's a fruit stand here that stays open all winter and I buy carrots, beets, apples, cabbage as needed. I can forage huge amounts of cooking apples, but not tasty eating apples. And I don't have success growing the other things, so can't store my own. When the fruit stand starts running out of stuff in late winter, I might buy a bit extra to last until stuff in my cold frame starts up.

I am thinking I'll restock my dry goods early, since the prairies had such terrible drought. Some stuff is supposed to get expensive.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Mushrooms suddenly showed up in the local greengrocers, so I bought half a case and am drying them. The mushrooms are dry enough to pile together on fewer trays after less than 24 hours.  

The green tomatoes I brought in 10 days ago before the first frost are slowly ripening and I'm still putting a tray or two out to dry each day. It was cloudy/rainy weather recently and also a flock of sparrows was interfering with the things drying on the roof, so I moved the half-dry ones indoors in a south-facing window with a fan blowing over them.
2021-10-20-drying-mushrooms-and-tomatoes.jpg
Drying mushrooms and tomatoes in a south-facing window with a fan
Drying mushrooms and tomatoes in a south-facing window with a fan
 
Catie George
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I ended up buying it all - now looking at buying a second bag of apples. About 1/6th were not good, but the rest ended up canned and put away, or eaten. The deer apples I bought were windfall apples. Macintosh apples that are RIPE and taste and smell like the apples at my grandparents farm when I was a kid. I don't normally enjoy raw apples, but ate 1-3 per day for a while, until they were all eaten or canned. I would have paid $15 just for the eating apples I pulled from the big bag!  Apple pie for Thanksgiving was very good and I am thinking of making more apple jam as Christmas gifts this year.

My grandmother calls this time of year 'bringing in for the winter'. She can still recite the grocery list for the fall from when she was a child, on a farm in a family of 12 children.  The number of 50 lb bags of flour and sugar and oats, pork preserved in barrels of salt, etc. When my mom was a child, they still kept an extensive root cellar. My dad thinks of late fall as the harvest season, the whole extended family getting together to kill pigs and render lard and make sausage and smoke it, drying peppers and fruit in the rafters of the attic, fermenting sauerkraut and pickles. Both my grandmother and my father grew up without refrigeration.  

Other things I have bought for the winter is extra dog food and other extra supplies of stuff I buy in the city - messy roads make it sometimes perilous driving to the city in the winter and prices at the local store are often 25-300% higher than 45 min away.  Another bag of rice, more canned goods, more lentils and beans, oil, coffee, cocoa, etc. We always go into winter with a full pantry.
 
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