Yesterday my boys went out and picked tomatoes for me. Already we’ve brought in more than last season, which is nice.
Now the trouble comes in having the time to process everything as we need to in order to preserve the food we have grown. I combat this conundrum in a couple different ways.
For the tomatoes, last year, I bagged them in about 5lb bags and popped them in the freezer. This helps by doing 2 things.
- It preserves the tomatoes and keeps them from turning to yucky mush before I get to them.
- It takes a step out of my process for making sauces as when the tomatoes thaw, the skin and juice separate from the fleshy parts and I can work with each component rather than having to roast, skin, drain, etc.
I actually found I still have a bag of tomatoes in the freezer from last year that had been hiding under some lemons. Yes, I freeze my lemons as it makes them easier to zest while frozen, and thawing them has the same effect as the tomatoes, making them easier to juice.
This year we also invested in a freeze dryer so that we could preserve our milk without using up all our freezer space. I’ll talk more about that in a post about preparing for the milk gap.
So, while it’s sort of a “needs must” situation, we have found ways to make our garden work for us, rather than the other way around. And because I had the presence of mind to log our school hours during out intro-week, we have a bit of a cushion to fall back on during weeks when harvesting and preservation and preparation force us to prioritize them over traditional homeschooling lessons. And for that matter, there is a lot of science and math involved in the food preparation/preservation processes so I tend toward using that as school curriculum. I’d wager the majority of my son’s peers couldn’t explain the need for pressure canning and the detrimental effects of botulism poisoning.
It all comes down to grace.
God graciously provides the harvest, we gratefully and humbly bring it in.
We must give ourselves grace in overcoming The Tyranny of the Urgent, and seek to focus on God’s best for us; if He gives a gift (food, shelter, offspring) it’s our responsibility to steward it well. It’s not a burden, it’s a gracious gift. And really that shift in mindset will make all the difference as you’re tempted to feel overwhelmed by the pounds and pounds of tomatoes and cucumbers on your kitchen counter.