What My Winter Prep Looks Like

I can only eat food from a few specific farmers so I have to put up what is growing when it’s growing if I want to eat in the winter. You can learn about why this is by skimming through my Hidden Corn laundry list  and reading some of my corn-tamination posts on individual foods. Because of other allergies, my “lockdown season” has been from November until June. One of my farmer-mommies began planting some winter crops I could eat so my lockdown is now from about January to June.

People frequently want to know what it looks like when you can’t just run out and buy food for half the year, so I took these pictures. What I have put up I will probably eat about 60-70% of this year, to myself. The large volume is mostly because I can’t eat any grains or starches due to not having safe sources. Corn is my anaphylactic and most sensitive allergy but I am also allergic to eggs, soy, and dozens of vegetables including all of the ones that grow in cold weather such as broccoli and cabbage.
PLEASE NOTE that the mason jar lids shown here are NOT safe for canning for most and may not be safe for frozen or dried storage for many. The BPA free canning lids from Ball and Kerr contain a resin that contains some corn. I personally can jar things with them but cannot have stuff that was canned (boiled in hot water for a long time) with them.

All of my preserved food is frozen or dehydrated because in addition to the Ball/Kerr canning lids containing a corny resin, I also do not seem to tolerate the Tattler canning lids. Not sure if this is a corn issue or not. I have not yet tried the Weck jars although I will eventually. More (but not enough) on corn-free canning here.

ANOTHER NOTE for people buying freezers- you want MANUAL DEFROST for any long term storage. “Frost Free” freezers are dehumidifiers which will eventually freeze dry your meat if it is not in a 100% airtight seal. My safe meat packaging is ziplocks, so those are not true hermetic seals at all.  I also observe, although the internet at large contradicts me, that frost free freezers contribute to MUCH faster freezer burn in all of my food.  I have meat in my manual defrost freezer from well over a year ago that is still totally fine, and it wouldn’t last nearly that long in a frost free freezer.

 

 

Clockwise from upper left:

  1. Dry storage & lactoferments: home dried & ground paprika, dried tomatoes, dried sweet & hot peppers, dried tomatoes, celery, more dried tomatoes, spicy pickled cucumbers & ancho peppers on to ferment still.
  2. 20 cubic foot upright freezer #1: Jars upon jars of fruit purees, tomato sauce, foodsaver vacuum-sealed bags of green veggies, pear sauce, a LOT of peaches, frozen grapes, and berries.
  3. 20 cubic foot upright freezer #2: Cucumber juice (yes really), more tomato sauce, fruit purees, more peaches, berries, and some pecans I never got around to shelling because they are a pain in the rear.
  4. 20 cubic foot chest freezer: These really are the best for fitting way more than the same cubic foot in an upright, not accidentally leaving open slightly & losing a bunch of food, and not building up with frost as quickly. However omg keeping them organized. I used the inserts that come with the freezer for the bottom part and then stacked these sterilite bins on top so i can easily remove the bins and see what’s below. best I can do for organizing.
  5. 4.4 Cubic Foot “all fridge” minifridge. This is my backstock mini-fridge. I unplug it when I don’t  need to store more produce than my regular fridge can hold. At the time of this picture it contains cucumbers I need to process still, and pickled veggies that are done fermenting.

Warning: Possible problems with new Ziploc bags

Ziploc brand bags have been a go-to for corn allergy people for some time now. Plastics can be an issue for corn allergies, but the particular plastic in ziploc bags was from petroleum and was not dusted or oiled with anything. I personally have been using Ziploc bags for freezer storage, cosmetic and utensil storage, packing while traveling, and even to package my custom processed meat. Well, as it turns out, nothing good can last forever, because there may be an issue with the new version of the Ziploc bags that hit the shelves a few weeks ago.

The new bags have an “easy open tab” and look like this.

ziploc

In addition to the new closure, the bag itself is a different texture, simultaneously thinner and shinier, and a couple of the very, very sensitive folks have reported reactions to it. One of the people reporting reactions was also the first to notice an issue with the new Ball BPA-free canning lids, so I am minded to heed this warning and exercise caution. Around the same time as people started reporting reactions, i started having some signs of mystery inflammation that started around the same time as I started using the new bags here and there. I also added back the honey that I had run out of for a few weeks that had been safe for me previously around that time, so I have cut them both and will update this post if re-introduction reveals a clear culprit.

For now, I would not panic, just exercise caution with these new bags. If you are in a delicate health state or have delayed or hard to pin reactions, I would not try them until you have your diet otherwise stable so that you don’t get confused about what the cause of any potential issues is.

I have not done any work to contact Ziploc and find out what they say changed or not, I am only reporting reactions at this time. if someone does correspond with Ziploc and wants to post those results here, that would be welcome.

Update Feb 2017: A couple months ago I re-introduced the Big Tab ziploc bags and had esophageal swelling from all food that had been in one. Not safe for me. I can’t be sure if this is a corn issue or not, but they are definitely not okay for me. I have a stockpile of the old-style bags and am moving to glass pyrex or anchor hocking storage containers, mason jars, metal U-Conserve storage containers, and other reusable options  when possible, and Reynolds brand aluminum foil when I absolutely need something disposable.