Preserving garden goodies for winter feeding

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Crazie Eddie, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. Crazie Eddie

    Crazie Eddie Out Of The Brooder

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    There are a LOT of goodies in the yard and garden right now that my chickies are enjoying, and I was wondering if and how they could be frozen for feeding in winter. The flock seemed to enjoy the frozen spinach I offered them last winter.

    For example, I've got way more zucchini than any of us can eat, and there's an early-variety apple tree dropping apples everywhere. I'm thinking we'll have a ton of green tomatoes at the end of the season too. I've been considering freezing some of the yellow rocket they enjoyed, but sprouting is probably the better way to go.

    Is it practical to try to freeze any of this stuff?

    Many thanks...
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Freezing, especially over the long term, destroys much or even all of the nutritional value. It works for some things but not others, and only for a given period of time. It will work for some things though, but I don't know which for sure. There are other methods to try for storing which may work, though. Freezing may work for you, it's possible. ;)

    In olden times folks would store apples for winter by dry storage. This won't work with some modern varieties because we breed in and out different chemical makeups to each breed. Anyway, they'd put a barrel in some dark cool place, put straw on the bottom, then some apples, not touching each other. Then another layer of straw, another layer of apples, and repeat until the barrel's filled.

    Alternatively you could dry them, or make something like apple cider vinegar out of them.

    Zucchini I don't know about but I bet if you pickled them the chooks would love it. Pickling, drying, and making jams out of things was the usual way people stored foods for winter, and is on the whole better value nutritionally than freezing. Canning has its uses too. I have heard of folks making zucchini jam, lol, they make jam out of absolutely everything.

    lol, sorry, my reply is not too useful concerning freezing. Best wishes anyway.
     
  3. SunnySkies

    SunnySkies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd say if you have that much extra, preserve it in any way you can. Frozen is OK, especially fresh. If you feel like canning, can (I spent an entire day canning the other day, and I am sick of it already...I'll be quick freezing from here on out). The birds will enjoy whatever you give them, and homegrown veggies are better than storebought any day, no matter how they are preserved.

    Look at the Ball's books on preserving. They have recipes for canning, making pickles, instructions on what you can safely preserve by dehydrating, and how to prepare food for freezing without destroying its nutritional value and to preserve its quality.

    I would store the apples in crates, like what they arrive at the store in, so they don't touch each other, and keep it in a dry, cool place. You could also make applesauce, apple butter, dehydrate some and make other apple things.

    This time of year is so fun with the deluge of produce and fruit from the garden....my counters are covered with produce right now, lol, all homegrown. I go crazy storing it, but it's lovely in the winter to open the freezer and grab a bag of homegrown and preserved green beans or open a jar of homemade pickles or peaches.

    I grew pumpkins and corn for the chickens. I am drying the corn and will out the cobs out, and I'll pick up the pumpkins and store them, then when I want to give them one, cut it open and put it outside.

    If you decide to can, please research. The old ways of preserving food are not always safe, and there are some things that people used to can that have been shown to be unsafe.
     
  4. TallJ

    TallJ Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 19, 2013
    I am dehydrating a ton of stuff!!
     
  5. Crazie Eddie

    Crazie Eddie Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the ideas...
    I initial thought freezing because it's easy and I have freezer space. Canning is a lot like work. My friend (who got me into this chicken nonsense [​IMG] to begin with) freezes apples all the time and says they come out pretty "fresh", - she uses them for apple sauce throughout the winter.

    I am intrigued by the idea of pickling - apple vinegar is one of the supplements I read about, but I have a galvanized waterer so I haven't offered it yet. I might try making some refrigerator pickles to start to see if they like the taste.

    I had thought about storing apples in straw - Gramma used to do that when I was a kid - but I don't have a spot that's cool enough but that won't freeze. We're in mid-Michigan and winters have been pretty unpredictable of late.

    Thanks again...

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  6. SunnySkies

    SunnySkies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd freeze. I have always read that fresh frozen food is really not that bad. Perhaps there are some studies showing what someone else posted, because I have never read that. I used to freeze things back in my research days because that was the best way to keep them as they were when collected until I could process them.

    Canning IS lots of work. Hot too.

    Refrigerator pickled veg won't last forever though. IIRC, the lifespan of pickled veg not canned is several months, tops. Don't know if you could get through the winter that way.
     
  7. jrudolph305

    jrudolph305 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are starting bags of produce to freeze--cuke skins, bean ends, zukes and pretty much any cutiings etc.--to chop and feed this winter. I do have a question about how much to give them now. I am leery to give them to much stuff for fear they won't eat their food but figure if they were free ranging they would be eating a lot of greens. I have seen a rule of thumb that you can give them whatever they can eat in 20 minutes--any thoughts? Also I have access to chopped corn and I cook it like grits, add egg shells, some chopped veggies and have been adding my leftover grower feed to get rid of it. They LOVE it.
     
  8. SunnySkies

    SunnySkies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is what would give. Enough to clean up in 15-20 minutes and call it good. They will love it. Mine free range all year around, but you can tell when the foraging isn't good, and they miss having all thr green stuff.
     
  9. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: My rule of thumb is one cropful each per adult per day. I usually throw down a bit extra for younger ones, but they're never bent on making my feed their main feed, they're quite happy to go find that themselves. It's a good balance, I think. I would look askance at any chook depending on me like the all-day freeranging in the lush paddocks and forest isn't enough. No lazy slackers in my flock! lol.
     
  10. tiffu22

    tiffu22 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have been wondering the same about freezing. It is so much easier and I have the space. I want to get 15 dozen corn and freeze right on the cob for them in the winter would this be ok.
     

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