Monday, January 26, 2009

Preserving the Seasons: January, Week 5

Since I started the series very early this month, I've got a fifth week in the month to contribute to this series. But don't worry, I'll keep it simple.

It's time again to check your stored food.

A recent post over at Fast Grow the Weeds gave me a gentle reminder that it's time both to check on what I've put up for winter and to accelerate eating from storage. So this weekend I did a quick check of what I still have on hand:

I've been trying to pull a couple bags from the freezer each week, varying what vegetables I incorporate in meals for the week. So far I've made a serious dent in the corn, started plowing through the broccoli, and taken a bag of pac choi and a couple of green beans, not to mention a container of breaded eggplant. But I've got a long way to go yet.

The Renaissance Man and I have been so busy baking of late (and you can read more about our adventures over at The Ethicurean -- there's a decadent sticky bun recipe waiting for you) that we've really knocked down the grain supply, particularly the 5-pound bags of whole wheat flour and spelt flour. (Good thing I have a big bucket of wheat berries and a grain mill, right?)

I've finally started eating the potatoes in my straw-filled cooler, having just skimmed off the top layer. The potatoes are starting to sprout, as you can see, since it's that time of the year, but so far they're keeping very well, not getting wrinkled or rotten.

The pantry shelves are still loaded, but if you look closely you can see that I've been using jars of tomatoes (plus sauce) and the occasional other canned goods. Time to step that up, too -- maybe baking with some jam!

In addition, I still have a basket of garlic, a good collection of onions (though that's dwindling), and several sweet potatoes. I've used dried vegetables on occasion, but I haven't made a big dent in those, and it's time to start working more dried fruits into baking. (Might be time to bake more granola.)

And not that this is about checking on the food, but I wanted to let you know that I've pulled together all the links from this ongoing series and put them into a neater list format on their own Preserving the Seasons page. I hope that makes it easier for you to go back and find what you need.

All in all, everything is keeping well, and I'm finally picking up speed on cooking from the pantry.

How are things looking in your kitchen storage?

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


At 1/26/2009 10:49 PM, Anonymous Janet said...

The amount of canned goods you have on your shelves is nothing short of stunning. Can you possibly consume them all before you start canning again??

At 1/27/2009 6:59 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

I don't know, Janet. It's going to be tough -- I've barely even started on fruit yet (the grape juice and applesauce I opened this week were from 2007!), nor the pickles. So I might need help.

Need directions??? ;-)

At 1/27/2009 9:07 AM, Blogger Tara said...

I agree with Janet, your canned goods are very impressive. My paltry stash has a small dent in it. My family wasn't thrilled with my honey flavored grape jelly; I think it's delightfully tart, they think it's terrible, so I think I'll be having rice cakes with cream cheese and grape jelly for breakfast a lot between now and summer. CSA soups are almost gone. :-(
I still have a basket of garlic too. I have a question: the garlic is getting a small green shoot in the center of it. Does that mean I need to do something with it before it goes bad? Like roast it or chop it in the food processor and store it in olive oil?

At 1/27/2009 9:13 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

I don't think your family would like my grape juice, either, Tara -- I rarely sweeten it, so it's a little sharp (but so good). I haven't tried the grape butter yet, but I see it in a buttery tart shell one of these days...

Re the garlic sprouting: yes, you can still use it. People recommend you remove the green before using the rest of the clove, though I usually don't. The flavor will be stronger, but that doesn't usually bother me. :-)

If you chop it and store it in olive oil, use it before long as I've been told that it becomes more prone to nasty microbial growth in that medium. (Of course, preserving in oil is still used, but the "experts" now warn us off it.) You could store it in vinegar, which would not be as much of a problem -- unless you don't want garlicky vinegar!

At 1/27/2009 12:47 PM, Blogger Ed Bruske said...

We could sorely use a pantry like that. All our canned goods are tossed onto a rolling cart in the living room, two shelves above my daughter's electronic keyboard. Yesterday we traded a bunch of stuff for some of our neighbor's venison. That's one way to deal with it.

At 1/27/2009 12:50 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

It has been awfully nice this year having a built-in pantry with so many shelves in the kitchen, Ed. I might get spoiled (if there weren't so many problems with the rest of the apartment). Glad you found a happy compromise!

At 1/30/2009 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're going through jam at a good pace - both in yogurt, and giving it as gifts. The dry goods are not going at the rate I'd calculated, in part because I went off most grain products for 4 months in the fall. Honestly, sometimes I look at the pantry and wonder, "What do we eat?"

Things that have definitely dwindled faster than the rest are: brown rice, white-ish flour, soft wheat berries (pizza dough!), salsa, peanut butter, and canned soup. Though I think I've hit on a storage-based version of Progresso Chicken Barley that suits my sweetie just fine when he has a cold. Why is it when we're sick, we both crave processed crap? Salt and easy carbs?

I've also gotten a lot of frozen berries from my freezer CSA. We never eat them, so I've decided to make them into more jam! That'll rock, because we only had 1 pint of strawberry to begin with.

At 2/01/2009 2:53 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

I'm with you, Emily -- sometimes I look at it all and say, "Yeah, great, but what can I eat RIGHT NOW???" Still working on that. Surprisingly, my canned soup (store-bought) is still untouched, mainly because there's still always the threat of power outages when the weather gets rough.

Good idea on the frozen berries -- I could try that, too, if I didn't have so much jam stocked up as it is.


Post a Comment

<< Home