You Need: Food

Yum. My favorite topic! Food!

One of the biggest priorities in anyone's life is food. Whether you raise it from an egg or baby cow, or grow it in a garden, or watch a tree grow from an apple seed, you need food.

This blog ( will help you create a grocery in your yard. How to plant fruit and nut trees. How to plant and care for berry brambles.

Later, we'll discuss in this blog how to raise and care for poultry and livestock.

As to preserving and cooking your harvests, check out

Here's just a little something to take note of: we modern people are sooo spoiled. Yes, me too. I love McDonald's and Subway. When I don't feel like cooking, or eating something left over from the night before, we tend to take out or get something delivered. We like variety. Most times we don't even eat the same cereal twice in one week.

Used to be... people didn't have that kind of choice. They grew (or bought) one or two kinds of grain, and didn't have a lot of ingredients to alter the final product. Pioneers (the ultimate homesteaders) might only have cornmeal for months at a time. How many different ways can you make corncakes when you just have cornmeal, salt and a little course maple sugar? Maybe a little milk and butter if you have a cow. Maybe a little lard or salt pork if you raised a pig.

Fruits were usually gathered wild: blackberries and apples... whatever grew nearby. Berries were dried in the sun. Apples were cored and sliced into rings, then hung to dry.

Vegetables? They didn't have the huge variety we have now, not if they lived away from a town. They usually grew corn (for horses and humans), and sometimes oats (horses mainly). Potatoes, carrots, turnips, and a pumpkin and/or hubbard squash rounded out the vegetables. They needed to grow what they could store to last through the Winter, and that didn't include greens or cucumbers.

Glass canning jars that were reusable weren't invented until 1858. So the food they harvested, they knew other ways to preserve it: Meat was salted and smoked, and hung from the attic's rafters, along with braids of onions and garlic. Fish were salted and kept in brine in barrels in the pantry. Sausage balls were kept "frozen" in the shed (pigs were butchered and sausage balls made after the deep freeze of winter started). Vegetables were stored in root cellars (hence the name).

A winter evening meal might consist of a corncake (cornmeal, water and salt), and a half a hubbard squash or stewed pumpkin. Possibly a prairie chicken or rabbit, or salt-pork if the hunting was bad. If there was any dessert, it might have been stewed blackberries with cream. The kids drank either water or milk, and adults drank coffee and tea (sparingly).

Geez. I look in my pantry and refrigerator, and see a wealth of choices. We are lucky, here in America, in the 21st century. Would I be able to feel satisfied eating the above meal? No. Not night after night after night.

So I better prepare. And if you can't tolerate the same meal over and over either, you need to prepare too.

Consider planting these (space permitting):

  • Staples (corn, oats, wheat, and other grains)
  • Seasonings (onion, garlic, parsley, chives, basil, dill, etc.)
  • Protein (beans, sunflowers, peanuts, soybeans, etc.)
  • Nut trees (filbert, almond, pecan, walnut, butternut, hickory, etc)
  • Fruit trees (apple, pear, peach, apricot, plum, cherry, etc.)
  • Fruit bushes (elderberry, blackberry, cherry, blueberry, cranberry, raspberry, etc.)
  • Fruit plants (strawberry, melons, etc.)
  • Winter Veggies (pumpkin, spaghetti/acorn/hubard/cushaw/butternut... squashes, carrots, white potatoes, turnips, cabbage, etc.)
  • Other Veggies (greens, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, okra, peppers (bell and hot), summer squashes, radishes, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.)
  • Perennials (artichokes, asparagus, rhubarb, etc.)
  • Other (cotton, flax)

We'll discuss cotton, flax and medicinal-type herbs in another posting, as well as animals you could raise.

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