Barely a week past the solstice, but the chickens can tell the days are already getting longer - two eggs yesterday, another one today. We last got eggs in mid-November. I had to buy eggs to make pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, and another couple dozen since. But the girls are looking all new and fluffy-feathered once again, and coming back into production. Hooray!
I used the last of my stored eggplants when I made lasagne a couple of days ago. The stored zucchini are still holding very nicely. I cut, peeled and de-seeded, then shredded two-thirds of one - half going into the lasagne, and made zucchini brownies today with the other half. The shredded storage zuke was a bit drier than summertime ones, so I added a splash of milk to the recipe.
I still have a few Asian pears left in storage - probably enough for 2-3 more batches of muffins. Fresh tomatoes are still looking ok in the cellar, but the temps down there have now dropped to where they've pretty-much lost their flavor. They're still better than buying supermarket tomatoes, though. The last of the fresh bell peppers stored down there are getting rather wrinkly - but roasting them out on the grill and peeling them solves that problem.
The Walla Walla onions just barely made it through last fall's canning season, but they were so big it made processing easy. I still have some white Ringmasters left in storage. But maybe every third one of those has started to get soft in the center, so I'm watching those closely and using them up quickly now. The Red Zeppelins didn't get very big, but they're still storing nicely. And I haven't even started on the Copras. Last Spring's onion combination order has worked out very well.
I cut the last of the chard, kales, and broccoli a few weeks ago, before our nighttime temps dropped into single digits. Washed, dried, wrapped in dish towels, then bagged, they're stored in the refrigerator and still look as fresh as when I picked them. It's nice having some fresh greens to add to winter recipes. I left the plants out in the garden but everything, other than the leeks, is looking pretty shriveled out there now.
So, going into the new year, we'll finally be eating the traditional storage foods - apples, carrots, winter squashes, and cabbages (didn't get a potato or beet crop this year), fermented stuff (sauerkraut and pickles), and our dehydrated, frozen, and home-canned fruits and veggies. Life is good.