February's full moon falls on Saturday 27th this 2021, it has many traditional names from many cultures. In the deep frozen lands with snow and ice settled in for many months now, the traditional moon names reflected the foods used to survive and offer a sense of abundance.
Hunger Moon, Little Famine Moon, Bony Moon, Bone Moon, Snow Moon it seems that all the names lament the scarcity of food during this month. The name was always for the same reason, the frozen land yet to yield anything to eat and because of the cold or depth of snow, wild game was often scarce.
Hunger Moon, is the one I seem to most identify with as I sit here in Alberta and my family all still living in the Northwest Territories with temperatures ranging anywhere from -35 to -48 for the past two weeks.
Before refrigeration and wide-scale shipping of foods, hunger was a real threat by the end of a long winter. Agricultural farming peoples and also the hunter-gatherer societies subsisted on very little after months of bitter cold. Now perhaps in 2021, it may be scarcity based on financial income.
So what foods did many of our ancestors have to eat?
There is hope. Lots of hope.
By eating seasonally, we can all access nutritionally dense foods and at a fair price.
To eat seasonally now seems a bit far fetched as we can choose a pineapple or fresh tomatoes at our local grocery store. Here in Alberta we have year-round farmer's markets and can choose seasonally grown or storage foods from local farms. When eating this way it feels right, not just in our pocketbook but by supporting local farmers and the nutritional make-up of each food item. The vegetables available right now, and some fruit - apples are still available and traditionally in some cold rooms, contain less sugars than let's say a pineapple.
The vegetables available this time of year are our root vegetables. Our ancestors worked hard to prepare for this month, this season, and this final stretch of freezing weather tested their cold room reserves. The root cellar of a well-prepared farmhouse might still hold some beets, potatoes, turnips, onions, winter squash, and other various root vegetables. Perhaps dry beans would be part of their storage. There may have been some smoked ham, salted pork or fish, canned or corned beef. Fresh green vegetables would be nearly impossible to find, but a good old crock of sauerkraut might still be providing some much needed probiotics and delicious flavors.
Here is my list of 15 nutrient rich and seasonally available root cellar vegetables: