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The October harvest is one we look forward to all year! While the garden is sputtering to an end, the main harvest is now wild game. In this final entry for the 2022 Preserving Your Harvest series, I share about pumpkins, potatoes, and turnips, as well as my favorite meat preservation methods.

Preserving Your October Harvest

Not only is our garden coming to an end, but seasonal farmers’ markets are also ending their produce offerings. Winter in Wyoming becomes a food desert in many ways. Taking advantage of, and preserving, produce while it’s in season is a great way to have produce for a reasonable cost. Not only will you save money by buying produce in-season, but if you can grow your own or find it locally, the bonus is amazing flavors.

You can find my entire 2022 Preserving Your Harvest series at these links:


Preserving Your October Harvest

Pumpkins and Winter Squash

While our pumpkin and winter squash harvest is meager this year, we are blessed to live near a pumpkin patch that grows a wide variety of pumpkins and squash. Not only do they have pumpkins,  they also offer potatoes and (earlier in the season) sweet corn. It’s an amazing operation! Plus, the corn maze is great fun… except for the year there was a grizzly bear in the corn. That was an interesting year for sure!

When cured and properly stored, pumpkins and winter squash will last for several months (depending on variety) without any special preservation. Pumpkin can be home canned, but only when using a pressure canner and leaving it in cubes. There are not any safety recommendations for canning mashed, pureed, or grated pumpkin or winter squash.


Preserving Your October Harvest - Potatoes


Potatoes are one of the most versatile foods around. They’re perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — even dessert if you’re so inclined! Under the proper conditions, potatoes can be kept as-is for several months. Potatoes can be frozen, dehydrated, or pressure canned (leave whole or cube). Potatoes can also be fermented, but this is usually done for gut-health reasons as opposed to preservation. I suspect long-fermented potatoes would end up as a base for alcohol.




I didn’t grow up eating turnips. My dad was not a fan. I’ll admit, the first time I did try a turnip, as an adult, I kind of agreed with him. But when we moved to Wyoming, I quickly discovered turnips, and other root vegetables, were easier to grow than the veggie varieties I ate in the Pacific Northwest. Several of my friends grew turnips and were happy to share. Now, while they’re not my favorite, they do have a place in our garden. Plus, I’ve discovered that while the root may not be my favorite, I really like turnip greens. Who knew?!

Turnips may have a sweeter flavor if exposed to mild frost but should be pulled before a heavy freeze. If harvesting greens, the production of the root can be slowed and the turnips may be smaller than expected. Turnips will keep for several months under proper conditions. They can be frozen, canned, pickled, dehydrated, and fermented.


Preserving Your October Harvest - fish

Coldwater Fish

Spending a lazy fall day along the riverbank is my idea of a good time! Being able to provide food in the process is a bonus. When the heat of summer begins to fade, the fish begin to bite.

The Cutthroat Trout is the Wyoming state fish and tends to be what we catch the most of, along with Rainbow and Brown Trout. There’s also Mountain Whitefish, but we don’t catch many of those. A nearby lake has Mackinaw and Walleye, and a few ponds have Perch.

Coldwater fish can be frozen, canned, smoked, fermented, and cured. Depending on your location, you may wish to exercise caution when fermenting or curing fish due to the broad fish tapeworm.

Trout can be made into jerky, but remember it’s a high-fat fish and a meat. I keep dehydrated meats in the freezer. This may seem like a waste of effort to dehydrate and then freeze, but since dehydrated food uses less space, it allows us to have about four times as much fish, meat, etc. as the undehydrated versions.


Preserving Your October Harvest - Meat


We either grow or wild harvest about 95% of our meat. Over the years, we’ve raised goats, ducks, turkeys, and chickens, depending on the year and what was happening in our lives. The easiest meat for us are meat birds raised on pasture in movable chicken pens, also called chicken tractors, similar to Joel Salatin’s methods in Pastured Poultry Profits.

We are also blessed to live in Wyoming with an abundance of elk, deer, and antelope available for wild harvesting. The season is well underway, and we’re working toward filling our freezers and pantry. While our first preservation method for meat is freezing (both chickens and wild game), we also pressure can and dehydrate. Fermented meats result in delicious and complex flavors.

Something new this year! I’m taking an online charcuterie course. Though we’ve played a little with smoking via a wood pellet grill, I’d really love to learn more about this amazing craft. While these preservation methods are ways that we preserve our homegrown and wild harvested meats, most carry over to ranch or store-bought purchases.


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How do you preserve your October harvest? Leave a comment below!

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