One of the primary goals of our vegan homesteading effort is local food self-sufficiency. Specifically, the goal is to eat “off the land” as much as possible. Many have asserted that a year-round locally-based vegan diet is not possible in a northern climate. People say, “maybe (a year-round, local vegan diet) is possible in Hawaii or Florida but definitely not in Pennsylvania” claiming that instead meat (from domestic or wild animals) is the only way to sustain a local diet during the long winter season. It is definitely more challenging to be eating a “local vegan” diet in a northern climate than a southern one where plants and fruits grow year round. However it is far from impossible. During the winter we regularly eat from our garden using our squash, potatoes, carrots, and beets from the root cellar; our cucumbers and tomatoes from the canning shelves; our corn and beans stored in jars; and lots of frozen produce.
We actually eat pretty well in the winter. We regularly make soups and various casseroles using our own stored produce as the base. Another luxury we have is eating our frozen fruits and ginger as smoothies all winter long. Here’s one of our winter staples that incorporates a lot of food that we grow (* marked with an asterick):
6 Cups Black Beans* (soaked overnight)
1 Gallon Water
4-5 Cups Onions* (chopped)
1-2 Cups Carrots* (chopped)
2-3 Large Sweet Potatoes* (chopped)
Handful of Crushed Basil* and Oregano*
6-7 Gloves Garlic* (chopped)
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup*
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Cup Tamari
Soak beans overnight, boil till soft, drain and discard water. Put all chopped vegetables and beans into 1 gallon of water, bring to low boil, turn down, let simmer until everything is tender. Add seasonings. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes. Tastes even better the second day.
We make a large amount to last the week or freeze for later.