Good Thing She Makes a Mean Turnip

January 20, 2012 at 9:51 am

As reported recently, the Local Family is entering another Chicago winter committed to eating local foods.  To do this, we put away a good deal of food during the fall.  A lot of the food came from our CSA from Tomato Mountain (where one of the Local Family also works), and we also made purchases at area farmer’s markets including Evanston and Green City. We benefited from an increase demand for local foods, as well as the mild temperatures .  There were more farmer’s markets for us this fall and early winter, and there was much more food at the markets.  Likewise, our CSA came with a lot food.  See below for a listing of what we have now in the Bungalow to keep us eating local.  See especially, the turnips.

Good thing she makes a mean turnip.  Not much to what she does.  Runs them through the food processor for even slices. Gets a cast iron pan pretty hot. Add olive oil.  Add your turnips.  Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  You want them soft and caramelized.  Believe me, that little bit of work will have you loving turnips.  We also make the Local Family teens take sliced turnips in their packed lunches, which they tolerate more than love.  Still, if you have all the turnips we have, you need to love turnips and tolerate turnips.

OK, it’s not all turnips.  In fact some days, the kids switch from turnips to radishes in their lunches.  Variety!  And we cook our radishes too.  We like them oven roasted.  We do continue to shop and find local foods.  Last week we added yellow peppers, cucumbers, and lettuce to our inventory, so it is NOT all turnips and radishes.  We recently made an order on Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks for a few things including carrots, and herbs–note, these are not including in accounting below as we have not received them yet.

Notes on food storage for eat local winter use: Our cold weather residing ancestors knew they could get by without the benefit of grapes flown in from Chile.  They knew that food kept in conditions just above  freezing, also damp, would keep foods fresh for several months.  Thus, food could be set aside for times when the grounds hardened.  The Local Family uses this knowledge to keep on eating local.  We put food in an un-heated attic, where it is cold enough–a big bowl of water adds the necessary dankness.  We also use our two refrigerators, but we note that the dryness there is not conducive to long term storage.  Other cold spots we take advantage of include our garage and our “mudroom.”

You can see our previous inventory report here.  Our current inventory of local food looks like this:

Kitchen Fridge

Cabbage – 2 + 1/4
Turnip (white “hakurei”) – about 10
Homemade quince-apple membrillo
Local eggs
Cucumbers – 2.5
Yellow bell peppers – 2
Herbs – parsley, thyme
Local grains

Kitchen, Dining Room, Living Room

Winter squash – (blue “cinderella”)
Garlic – 6 or 7
Hot peppers – dried
Onions – 8
Dried herbs (marjoram, oregano)
Red onions – a few
Shallots – several
Honeybell tangerines brought IN Florida (not that it matters…)


Yellow onions – (medium and large) – somewhat less than a 1/2 bushel
Cranberries – 1/2 bushel, less 2 pies 3 pie’s and one cake’s worth
Sweet potatoes (assorted) – many
White potatoes (assorted) – some
Spinach – 3 big bags
Leeks – 8
Kohlrabi – 12


Onions – 10 or so
Garlic – 8 or so
Canned tomatoes – whole, sauce, puree
Spiced peaches
Peach chutney
Dried mushrooms
Misc. pickles, jams, jellies, relishes
Dried beans

Basement Fridge

Local grains

Basement Freezer

Frozen fruits – blueberries, grapes, cherries, peaches
Frozen veg – pureed squash, tomato puree, dried tomato, caponata, prepared green beans
Local meat

Root Cellar in the Sky

Potatoes – (assorted including fingerling, red, russets) – enough for a while
Carrots – (assorted) – several
Apples (mutsu, Northern spy) – less 2 pies worth
Radishes (long red Japanese “shunkyo”, watermelon) – a lot
Winter squash – (delicata) – 10
Turnips (purple top) – many
Parsnips – one big meal’s worth


Apples (Northern spy) – 1/2 bushel