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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Account Balance is Low

When hunger dogs winter's heels, old traditions point your feet straight to the pantry, cellar, or whatever little hiding place you may have carved out. It's time to go in and spend your culinary savings account lavishly. You'll feel mighty clever!

Connie Green and Sarah Scott from The Wild Table: Seasonal Foraged Food and Recipes

When I read this quote I smiled to myself. It was mid-winter and my basement pantry was stocked with all kinds of goodies. We had boxes of potatoes, onions and garlic. There were also rows of glass jars filled with all sorts of vegetables and fruits. Bright orange pumpkins and green squashes filled one corner of the dining room and the freezer was full of venison.

Basement Pantry

Figuring out how much you need to preserve to get through winter can be a little difficult at times. You don't want to end up with too much food come spring, but you don't want to run out before those first green shoots appear in the garden. You want to make sure your pantry savings account it low, but not completely empty!

Cleaning out the Pantry

This is the best time to think about the coming preservation season. Take a good long look at your pantry, what did you eat up quickly, what is still on the shelves not touched. Is there anything you won't be canning again? What will you can more of? Is there anything you can grow during the cold winter months to help supplement the pantry food so that you don't have to spend as much time in summer canning? Did you eat more dried fruit than canned fruit? Did you have enough garlic, potatoes, and onions? Did you run out of popcorn halfway through the winter?

A little time spent planning now can make your winter food savings account a little more balanced to your personal tastes and can make you feel mighty wealthy all winter long!

How do you decide how much and what to preserve each season? Has it changed throughout the years?

I can also be found at Chiot's Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Ethel Gloves and Not Dabbling in Normal, and you can follow me on Twitter.

9 comments:

skybluepinkish said...

This was a really interesting post for me. I have had a long holiday weekend and have been spring cleaning. Today I tackled the pantry and larder. I have finally learned what I have long known to be true - we do not need chutney! But I was surprised by how little of the fruit jelly we ate. I think that is probably because I felt we needed to it, whereas actually we had a lot! This year we will eat it freely. I freeze a lot of our fruit, but even I have failed to persuade our children that rhubarb is good!

notherethenwhere said...

I'm just getting started with growing, preserving,and stockpiling food, but this is pretty much my ideal.

Killiecrankie Farm said...

Never enough in the garden (yet) to even meet demands for fresh produce let alone preserving for a large family.

Wild apple and blackberry scrumping has been bountiful this year - so now we have loads of dried, frozen and stewed fruit.

But the freezer is full of prime organic beef - a decision that was made three years ago has reached a plentiful fruition and now feed three families.

Kristy said...

I would lOVE to be doing this... it's on my list. I will get there one day. :) Thanks for keeping up the 'mojo' :)

Tanya said...

A great post that made me think about our stores. I think apple and cinnamon jam will be a biennial thing- really tasty but so flavoursome a little goes a long way. On the other hand I could make double the apple chutney plus the raspberry and the blackcurrant jam and still not satisfy the extended families demands! Pickled onions seem to keep well but beetroot needs to be an annual thing.Like skybluepinkish I think we can get away with ekeing out less and enjoying more over the winter as stores have lasted better than I expected. Thanks

Tanya said...

A great post that made me think about our stores. I think apple and cinnamon jam will be a biennial thing- really tasty but so flavoursome a little goes a long way. On the other hand I could make double the apple chutney plus the raspberry and the blackcurrant jam and still not satisfy the extended families demands! Pickled onions seem to keep well but beetroot needs to be an annual thing.Like skybluepinkish I think we can get away with ekeing out less and enjoying more over the winter as stores have lasted better than I expected. Thanks

Fleecenik Farm said...

Oh this is the kick in the pants I need to clean the pantry out. But I have been think about this as I plant my garden this spring. I would like some of my food stores to be in the ground over the winter. So I will be planting extra parsnip this year. I would like to build another cold frame of two and plant spinach in it this fall for an early spring crop. I also planted shallots this spring and apparently they can over winter in the ground. And of course we have jerusalem artichokes in abundance and just pick those out of the ground when we want them in the fall summer and spring.

Rosa said...

It seems like it changes for us every year. But in general, "as much as i can manage" is the answer for tomatos, corn, apple rings, shredded zucchini, and apple butter - we are out of all those things again this year, but I spent as much free time as I could get during canning season, so that's all we're going to have.

For other things, that aren't 100% shelf stable, I seem to always be just over or just short, and it depends more on things like how well the squash was cured than on what we're actually eating. We've gotten good at eating what we've got.

If we had to be self-sufficient on just the pantry, though, we'd starve by February.

Accidental Huswife said...

Every year is new challenge, for me at elast. I ended up this season with far too many picked oddities that I canned in a fit of frugality. It turns out we don't eat too many picked watermelon rinds or green tomatoes. But we go through jellies and tomatoes like nobodies business! Thanks for a great post.