7 Back-Burner Kitchen Projects to Tackle This Winter

Use the downtime in your winter months to tackle farm and kitchen projects that have been lingering around your homestead.

by John D. Ivanko

7 Back-Burner Kitchen Projects to Tackle This Winter - Photo by Chiot's Run/Flickr (HobbyFarms.com)

Each farm season ushers in different projects and priorities. While summer, with all its outdoor glory, gives us many opportunities to grow and cook fresh, local food, winter brings two special assets: time and a new start. When you mix long, winter nights with the energy of the new year, winter becomes a highly productive time for for churning out food projects and putting lingering culinary ideas into motion.

This winter, we’re tackling our goal of making homemade sourdough breads. Despite our new outdoor, wood-fired oven and a passion for artisan bread, we didn’t find time throughout the year to nail down that sourdough flavor we crave. Our winter downtime gives us the freedom to research about fermented starters and play around with recipe techniques.

We all have farm and kitchen to-dos on the back-burner that we need to cross off before the growing season hits, but it can be hard to focus after the busy holiday season. For some inspiration, we turned to our Wisconsin farmer friends to find out what projects are on their winter farmstead lists.

“This winter I am finally fermenting my own sauerkrauts and ‘kraut-chis,’ a hybrid of sauerkraut and kim chi. I’ve always been an ardent kombucha maker and kefir propagator, but I’m almost embarrassed to admit I’ve somehow not yet entered the veggie fermentation realm. I’ve got two kraut-chis going right now and some great ideas for tweaks on the next few.” –Kriss Marion, Circle M Market Farm

“This winter I’m working on my goal of no plastic storage containers. I replaced my bags and plastic bins of pantry items with nice glass jars. A bonus was this made my pantry into a beautiful visual, too.” –April Prussia, Dorothy’s Grange LLC

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“My husband and I are working on brewing our own kombucha. We love the store-bought stuff, but it is pricey. We got a SCOBY, the yeast and bacteria culture to start kombucha, and our first batch is fermenting away in the pantry.” –Erica Solis, Emancipation Acres

“Winter is a good time for research and thinking through those lingering ideas that need a little thought to kick into motion. I’m getting back into studying more about chickens and what breeds we will be introducing to our farm. Last year I had told my husband that I wanted to get them and he put me off because we needed a coop. This year I told him that I’m ordering the chicks whether he is ready or not. A little motivation goes a long way!” –Amy Barnes, B&A Farm

“My focus this winter is working through my house and de-cluttering. I joined two online websites which offer lots of ideas and moral support and, importantly, put me on a calendar schedule to get it all done: 52 Weeks To An Organized Home and De-Clutter your Home In 365 Days: Only 15 Minutes Per Day.” –Joylene Reavis, Sugar Maple Emu Farm

“I like reading different diet and nutrition books and saw a recommendation to eat a daily meal including mushrooms for their nutritional and immunity value. For my growing up years, I only knew mushrooms through those cans of cream soup, so I still have a lot of mushroom naiveté and my winter food adventure is to add to my ‘mushroom life list’ of all kinds of different mushrooms to try: grocery store white, crimini, portabellas and those oh-so-luxurious morels.” –Karen Anderson

“This winter I’m focusing on finishing writing my business plan so I get land rented and my farm and value-added business up and running this year. It’s easy to think on a snowy day, after sitting through researching dry legal issues like trademarks, that I just may have bitten off far than I can chew, but I’ll keep at it. On my home kitchen project front, I’m working on incorporating bone broths into more of my daily food and making new batches to restock my freezer.” –Rebekah Wilce

Savoring the good life,

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