childrenturnippatch

One day last week, while sitting at the breakfast table, I made the mistake of mentioning harvesting some turnips.

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Not long after, I spotted the four older children on their way out to the Chicken Field. So we gathered a couple of totes and I grabbed the camera and baby Joshie. Eventually Elijah was leading this little lady around by the hand trying to find the largest in the patch.

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Pulling up root vegetables is probably one of their favorite garden chores.

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Eventually we had a tote overflowing with greens and another half-filled with roots.

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We stopped at about 25% of the patch since I knew that was all I would have time to process.

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The turnips came into the kitchen along with some of the greens, the remainder going to the goats and chickens.

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By the end of the next day we had several gallons of Homestead Chi (recipe in Traditionally Fermented Foods) made from turnips, green onions, and cilantro from the garden cut with grocery store cabbages. I also added some lacto-fermented Turnip Dill Pickles to the jar collection stinking up our counter tops.

We thank the Lord for the increase, the able bodies for harvesting, and the method of simple food preservation that has been such a blessing to our family in so many ways.

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It all started early this summer and I have to say I had an accomplice. Up until that point, in order to actually can foods I had to borrow a friend’s canner. Well then my father-in-law dropped one off when he visited the family so I guess if my quickly filling cabinets have anyone to blame it is him.

After a new gasket the canner saw its first use in a while and I quickly became smitten. Organic potatoes we purchased in bulk at a deep discount were the first victims. The boys peeled and chopped, I packed and processed. It was just too easy now that a pressure canner lived right in my own kitchen.

And the gardens happened – the most productive garden we’ve had since inhabiting this land. Both green beans and squash were fermented and dehydrated, until I just couldn’t keep up with it and threw a couple of baskets full into the canner. These were the first jars of homegrown, home canned produce we’ve seen here in Texas.

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I took a break through August when my manuscript was due and September too as I finished the photos. But then I found a stash of dried beans so old no amount of boiling seemed to help. Our neighbor who’d been over helping with housework (hiring help when deadlines loom has been a win!) mentioned how her mom pressure canned them and they were soft and tender. Dozens and dozens of quarts later is when my hobby started to turn into a… situation.

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Then apple season happened and bulk organic apples at a good price means applesauce. But then two large boxes of longhorn bones showed up on our door and desperate times called for desperate measures so several more cases of jars came home with us… and, filled with broth, now join the collection taking up just a bit of space in our cabinets.

So, I thought I’d wait until we took a bull to the butcher before I filled any more jars. The many quarts of meat and broth would surely be enough to deter me from filling more jars and more cabinet space, right?

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Well, potatoes and apples and beets came into season once again. So now one hundred pounds of potatoes and forty pounds of apples and twenty-five pounds of beets are hollering for help and who am I to say no?

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Canning lots of food was really never on my to-do list, but when you live off-grid and are still working on that root cellar and have no refrigeration for produce, it certainly helps. The gallons of turnip kimchi on the counter indicate that my dedication to fermentation has not waned, I’ve simply added to the many, many jars we go through around here.

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I’ll probably need more jars… and cabinet space… or better yet, a root cellar! I’m rallying for a huge potato patch in the spring, more squash, and bushels of green beans! Surely, I don’t have a problem here, right?

Oh, and if you stop by, sorry for the slowly decaying food odor – kimchi always tastes better than it smells. Come back in a month and it will be spot on tasty… and after another turnip harvest, Lord willing, I’ll only have added to my reeking counters and sagging cabinets.

Anyone know if you can purchase jars by the pallet load?