Too Many Veggies

So I managed to run into someone who worked as a building manager for an assisted living facility. Every week they get a food truck, packed with veggies. And every week, since they don’t finish them, they throw them away.

What.

Sometimes the building tries to donate the food to churches and the like, but only if someone comes to pick it up. Ultimately, since all these organizations are non-profits nobody wants to fund picking it up or dropping it off so it gets tossed. It’s “cheaper” that way. Also unfortunately this girl I met has no real food processing equipment at all. She takes home what she can and uses it but we’re talking a quarter ton of food ever month, there’s only so much one familly can do to cut through that. Lucky us we managed to meet up. She brought me what must be 100lbs of food and she said that wasn’t even all of it. It’s all a little older, but in there was some 50lbs of potatoes, 20lbs of carrots, 10lbs of onions, and a big box of some 25lbs of apples and pears. (Mostly apples.)

Now, while the apples were starting to go questionable on me and I have a lot of experience doing Things With Apples (especially old ones), I have NO idea what to do with 50lbs of potatoes. I sure as all heck won’t be using them all before they go bad! I go through some mere 15lbs every few months!

Work station for prepping the apples for apple butter

I managed to turn the majority of the apples into Apple Butter, something I got practiced at after doing a Pick Your Own Apples thing with my familly last year and something I used to do as a kid at this amish farm. So now I have four pints of apple butter cooling on my shelf and I am out of jars or I would have made more. I also made an apple pie, for which my sister generously donated a crust and for which I gave her half the pie. I am thinking I may need more jars to use the last 15 apples I have. I gave some peels to the dogs, rabbits and chickens but the chickens didn’t like them much and the rabbits would only eat a few before stopping. Makes me wish I had a small and delicious pig to feed them to…

But what about these root veggies? I am really not sure. I could make a massive curry pot (or five) until I ran out of onions but I’d be left with tons of potatoes still. And that’s the real kicker; 50lbs of potatoes. The rabbits like eating carrots, so they’re not a HUGE problem since I have ANY sort of use for them. Not so much the potatoes. And there’s only so much three chickens can eat, as much as they flip their wigs for potato peels. And these potatoes are HUGE. I chopped two of them into cubes, blanched them, and froze them so I could use them later on like frozen peas… But just the two potatoes filled my gallon ziploc half-way (which is the maximum for allowing them to lay flat nicely). I think I’d have to do about 20 more of those to go through the whole box. Not to mention the chickens barely ate through the potato peels I put out today as it is.

And I was informed I would be getting boxes like this from her occasionally (possibly weekly?) in exchange for some of my own home-brewed things such as trading for eggs, rabbit, furs, or even just processing or preserving them into other things (like the apple butter). Not just root veggies, either, but tons of greens too.

Help! I think I am drowning in vegetables! What do I do with them all!? Any ideas?

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7 thoughts on “Too Many Veggies

  1. I would check your local Goodwill for quart size canning jars. Ours has them often for 20 cents a piece at this time of the year. Then you could can the potatoes and carrots for later use in soups and stews. 20 pounds of potatoes will make 7 quarts. You could also dehydrate them if you can’t find a cheap supply of jars. dehydrate2store.com has lots of good videos on dehydrating potatoes, carrots, and all sorts of things.

    Is there a pig farmer nearby? You could offer to give them what you can’t use in trade for some cuts of pork. Any families in need you could give to? Or a food bank? A mission?

    • Since I don’t drive, while I’d like to drop them off at a foodbank I can’t. And all the foodbanks are west of me; it’s a long enough drive for my new friend to drive out to me from way east. Same with pig farmers. I wish I could find other urban homesteaders and do trades, but they seem to be super isolated. Both my veggie-bringer and I have tried to seek out anybody with even vaugely similar interests and so far we have only found eachother.

  2. I second what LuckyRobin said; can or dehydrate them. I canned only 30 pounds of potatoes this year as “chunks” to use as home fries. I only have 3 jars left and I am the only person in my household.

    • I have actually been freezing what I can. I found a recipie online for making frozen potatoes where you just blanch them and then freeze them in chunks and they can be used like any other frozen veggie that way.

      There is just so many! I could not imagine canning them all (apparently you did it though!)… And I don’t own a dehydrator. 😛

      • Canning 30 pounds of potatoes does not take as long as one would think as long as you have a full day. I love the fact that I can have a full meal ready in less then 10 minutes.

        You could also make perogies or sheppard’s pie and freeze them as well.

  3. Being able to consume the produce would be the first priority I would assume, but composting what you can’t use and that is really going bad is not a waste. From my experience one can never have too much compost! As a suggestion check your local thrift stores for a dehydrator, that is an appliance people either use the dickens out of, or it sits in the box till it gets off loaded at goodwill.

    You can also harvest the starch out of them and use for a flour substitute. Peel and grate the potatoes and then squeeze out the liquid with a double layer of cheese cloth into a bowl, let it sit. The starch will settle to the bottom, then carefully pour off the liquid on top. You could put the paste in your newly acquired dehydrator or just on sheet pans in the low temp oven to dry.

  4. Pingback: Homesteading Holiday Gifts (Caramels #1) | quarteracrehome

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