I know spring has sprung when I get the urge to clean. Not clean as in sweep the floors and pick up the living room but clean as in turn out all the closets, wash the curtains and scrub the cabinets, inside and out. I started in the cellar, removing all of the remaining food I put up last year and deciding what I had enough of, where I was short and what I overdid. I can see I was about spot on with tomato sauce, short on pickles and way over on jams and jellies.

I do it every year. I love to make jelly and jam and I raise a lot of fruit and berries. The problem is that we don’t eat as much as we could. I do give a lot away as gifts but I still have 15 jars hanging around. I put up 50 pounds of peaches last year. When I was done, I had a huge pile of peach skins left. As usual, my skin-flinty self could not just compost the leavings. I had to reboil them, strain out the juice and turn it into peach jelly. Unfortunately, the darn stuff had almost no flavor. Someone would open a jar, realize it was bland, then leave it to grow mold. Why eat it when we have jars of fabulous blueberry and raspberry jam? I still have 5 jars that I know no one will eat. I suppose I will send it too the neighbor’s pigs.

I found a couple of jars of canned carrots and green beans. We really don’t care for canned vegetables unless in casseroles. As I also found a couple of jars of canned beef chunks I put up last fall. That means stew for dinner tonight. I think I will make a double batch of biscuits too. Then I can serve some with jam for breakfast tomorrow. I only have one more jar of bread and butter pickles. I think I will save those to perk up a dinner of leftovers one night.

Every year I fill the cellar pantry with the best of intentions for keeping up-to-date with the inventory but real life gets in the way. I always have 50 1/2 gallon bottles of juice, more or less, downstairs. I just checked and I only have 6 1/2 gallons. I will hit the market in the morning and restock.

I did find 12 jars of applesauce that I had put in the wrong spot. What a treasure! We eat a lot of applesauce. I sure wish I would find more dried apples, canned blueberries, rhubarb and dill pickles. Ah well. Summer is coming. Right now, I am off to empty the kitchen cabinets.

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