Dwindling Dark Days

Can you believe it’s nearly spring already?  When I started this challenge it was cold in Michigan but still unseasonably warm.  Now after eating local meals all winter, the seasons are about to change again.  And, here in Michigan it is, once again, unseasonably warm.  It’s only the middle of March but all the snow, aside from the areas in almost constant shade, has melted.  Saturday night I’ll “Spring” the clocks forward (well, Mr. Hippie will but they’ll be sprung regardless) and next week I’ll start seeds for my spring garden.  It’s almost too hard to believe. 

Asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries will start showing up at the Farmers’ Market in the next few months but until then, the storage cupboard is nearly bare.  If I had been eating locally all the time, we would have run out of stores long ago.  If I was only eating the salsa that I made and not supplementing with store-bought salsa, I would have been out since October.  To make a real go of eatting locally next winter, I’m going to need to can and freeze a lot more food. 

If I want to eat a jar of slasa a week (and that’s a conservative estimate) I’ll need 52 pint jars.  I have that many, but I’ll need jars for jam and tomatoes and pickles (and you get the picture). 

Freezing is easier.  I have many freezer containers but space has always been a problem. We have a fairly large refrigerator-freezer and have had a small chest freezer for several years, but there were times that all the space was full.  I wanted to buy half a pig last year but there wasn’t enough room.  However, for my birthday, Hubby got me this:

My birthday present!

The new stand-up freezer Mr. Hippie got me for my birthday!!!

Now I can start dreaming of frozen food!

But, this post is supposed to be about the Dark Days meal I made.  I haven’t been motivated to bake lately.  I think that’s partly due to the increasing temperature and partly to the fact that I’ve been so busy lately.  I wanted to bake bread to go with dinner but just couldn’t bring myself to do it so here it is, all by itself, Chicken Corn Chowder.

I started with the rooster from last week’s Dark Days meal.  I threw it into a pot with some diced potatoes an onion and three wrinkle-dy parsnips from the refrigerator and boiled the whole mess until I had a nice stock.  After that I pulled the parsnips out and ate them. 🙂  Then, I removed the bones from the meat and strained the stock into a bowl.  I added some spelt flour roux (flour and butter cooked together), some thyme from the garden (that I didn’t even have to dig out of the snow!!!)  and some milk to the stock pot to make the base creamy.  Once I had a creamy base, I returned the stock, potato chunks and the chicken meat to the pot and pulled two ears of corn from the freezer.  I cut all the kernels off the cobs and added them to the pot.  The soup was essentially done at this point, but I seasoned it with a little more salt and pepper before serving it (without bread 😦 ). 

Chicken Corn Chowder

Rooster-Corn Chowder

Even without bread it was a delicious meal.

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4 Comments

Filed under Dark Days, food, urban chickens

4 responses to “Dwindling Dark Days

  1. Remember you’ll have fresh salsa for some of those weeks! We did the same thing last year, and totally upped the salsa production. We did 32 jars (some pints, some half-pints) and we just might make it ’til tomato season 🙂

    Congrats on the freezer–ours made a huge difference in eating year-round homegrown food 🙂

  2. Congrats on your new freezer. When we moved here we sold hubby’s old freezer and bought a new, larger one. Now we wished we would have kept his old one too since the current one is pretty full!
    I’ll be doing an inventory in the next week or two and see how we did on our estimates. We don’t make salsa though since I’m about the only one who eats it. How do you use all of that salsa?

    • aastricker

      I sit down and eat a whole jar in one sitting with tortilla chips or crackers or soy crisps and call it lunch. 🙂 Sometimes I even make tacos or enchiladas or layer dip, but mostly I just eat it. Maybe I should call it spicy gazpacho. A jar of tomato soup a week wouldn’t sound as bad.

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