Have you ever wondered what it would be like to eat like a pioneer, back when people were more self reliant and worked hard to produce what they ate?
Have you wondered how hard it would really be to achieve this goal?
As homesteaders and gardeners, we decided we were up to the challenge and decided to start eating like pioneers. Sort of. We did allow ourselves to buy dairy (as we do not yet have a cow), and we did sneak in the odd chocolate bar, and at least a few bottles of Kahlua. The intent was not to punish ourselves, but to get a reasonable appreciation for where we’re at, in terms of providing for ourselves, year-round.
Over the course of the summer and autumn we stocked up a plentiful winter pantry. In addition to what we grow, it gets filled with staples like oats, beans, lentils, sugar, flour, coffee & tea. This year there were over 800 jars, carefully preserved from the food we grew in the garden and foraged in the wild. (You can read more about this in the article: Creating a Homegrown Winter Pantry) There was a good stock of pork in the freezer from the pigs we raised, and a nice stock of wild crafted wine ready to be bottled. We were even experimenting with fermented foods, sour dough, sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, and at least a couple more (I forget!) Things were looking great.
In the late autumn as we were pulling up the last of the root vegetables and tucking them away in cold storage, we wondered: How long can we go just eating from what’s in the pantry?