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Plant diversity in your pantry

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

As I sit by the fire and contemplate the spring garden, I have been thinking a lot about the diversity of fruits and vegetables we store each winter. We are lucky enough to grow most of our own produce and about 25% of our meat consumption for the entire year. We purchase the other 75% of our meat and dairy from other local family farms, and pick up a handful of other items from the grocery store (cheese, chocolate, grains being the most important).

I am always looking how to add to our repertoire of garden grown storage vegetables (more on this in future posts), but this winter I am also thinking about our plant fiber diversity and how that effects our gut. Recently I listened to a podcast interviewing Dr Will Bulsiewicz. “Dr. B” is a gastroenterologist who early in his professional career was struggling to find ways to help his patients while also improving his own health. He explored the diets of native people and the affect these diets had on gut biome. Dr B noticed a link between a diet filled with a diversity of plants and overall health. The gut is home to 70% of our immune system, so it is as much a part of our sustainable future as our soils.

It is easy to eat a diversity of home grown produce during the summer, but what about the winter months? Should we rely on the grocery stores to fill the gap? While we do not grow our own grains for food, we do grow over 54 types of other plants here on the homestead.

Canned beets and carrots
Picked beets and spiced carrots

At the Our Sustainable Family homestead, one of our main focuses is how to easily provision ourselves with these 54 plants for winter use. Part of our garden plan is to limit the “burden” of putting food away for winter, and to find a rhythm that makes sense to us while having months of food diversity in storage.

This is a first post in a coming series focusing on food security for the winter. My next few blogs I will focus on crops that sustain us throughout the winter, how we store them, and we will share some of our favorite recipes for using them. Stay tuned!

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