With the return of our farmers’ market, it’s time to take stock in the pantry and start planning what will be put up this year, even if the weather is acting more like late March than early May.
Excepting the jam, which I apparently made in large quantities two years ago, and the apricots, which Caitlyn refuses to pack for her lunches, I think we actually did really well in eating through much of what I put up last year. We have tomatoes left, but probably just enough to get us to tomato season in a few months. The same is true of corn, although I expect I probably over-stocked on zucchini. But we are out of peas, green beans, spinach, broccoli, and raspberries in the freezer and out of squashes, potatoes and apples in the pantry.
I’ll plan to pick strawberries (some for freezing, some for jam, strawberry being the only jam we are in any danger of not having on hand), raspberries and blueberries (Caitlyn currently loves having frozen blueberries in her lunches at school; should she cool on that, we can always eat blueberry muffins). There are 8 pints of peaches left, but almost none in the freezer, so I’ll probably get one box and split it between the canner and the freezer. We have 6 1-gallon bags of bing cherries in the freezer; clearly we prefer the dried cherries. I wonder if I thawed the ones in the freezer if they would dehydrate nicely?
Spinach should be packed better. I’ve been blanching then freezing it on trays, then packing jars with frozen spinach. The result is jars with lots of extra air space, which means that anytime I want to make a spinach-feta something, I go through 2 quarts of spinach. Perhaps I should pack pints instead and skip the tray-freezing step…
A couple jars of broccoli would be a good addition. I’m going to try freezing rhubarb this year, since the rhubarb mush I canned two years ago has turned out to be useful only for topping things; it makes a terrible crisp. But otherwise, I think I’m pretty much right on for my food storage goals. It’d be nice if we could not run out of potatoes in February or March, but without a better potato storage plan, more potatoes stored would probably not result in more potatoes eaten.
The last thing to do before I start bringing home piles of produce from the market is to defrost the chest freezer. Maybe if I pull all the nuts and dried things and flours out of the kitchen freezer, there will be enough space to temporarily house the things that shouldn’t thaw when I turn the big freezer off.
And then, to think about cheese-making!