One of the onerous, loathsome tasks that all of us who store food and supplies must face from time to time is going through our inventory and culling what is post dated or just not going to get eaten in this lifetime. It is hard enough to tackle this job if one has purchased food but when the food got into your pantry by the very sweat of your brow, then throwing it out is a terrible thing, symbolizing wasted energy and resources. Still, I had to get it done tonight (I am posting on Friday night) as the new food is coming in and I didn’t want to risk mixing old and new. It seemed like as good a time as any to try to revamp my inventory system too as there is little to count right now.
It is clear I went overboard on some things last year. I still have 5 jars of apple butter left and I have been giving it away so this year I am not making any. What I have will see me through just fine and I ran short of apple sauce so I will put my energy into making sure I have enough of that. I have 7 jars of blueberry jam left. I am not making any this year. I did put up a batch of raspberry jam and I will probably make some apple and mint jelly to. My kids are not big PB&J eaters. I go through a limited amount of jam. I am down to my last jar of pears. A good thing because they are getting spicier with age and the kids aren’t scarfing them down as they do in December. I will need a lot more peaches. We eat a ton of those, probably a quart a week at least and more if I am making cobbler. So what did I dispose of? One jar of rhubarb that looked grey to me. It smelled fine so the pigs got that. 3 jars of butter landed in the trash. It smelled funny and I didn’t know if I should give it to animals. When in doubt. throw it out is my motto. What killed me to toss was some turkey I canned after Thanksgiving last year. It smelled fine and looked fine but I felt funny about eating it after so long. I know myself well enough to know that I can talk myself into getting sick if I think I have eaten something questionable. It had to go. I found 3 jars of stock with no date. They were flushed. I did find grape juice, 4 quarts of it that tasted like sips of heaven. As usual, I learned something. Many of the jars had some mildew around the lids from being in my damp basement. I am going to be a lot better about washing jars before bringing them downstairs. A small bit of syrup on a jar will grow mold in no time. I am going to use my new cabinet as a kind of in between pantry. I can keep samples of pickles, fruit, jams, juices and sauces in it and replenish it every few weeks. I will be more likely to eat some of the odder stuff if it is right there rather than tucked away downstairs.
All in all. I don’t think I did too badly considering all of the food I put up each year. I tossed perhaps 15 jars of food, most of which I fed to the pigs. A half dozen jars (all jams) turned out to have failed seals and had to go.
There are two final notes. The first is kind of funny. I had my stove installed today but there was a part missing and the gas for the range top can not be hooked up until Monday. The man who told me was so sorry. He acted as though my being without my stove over a weekend was some big problem. I really got a chuckle over how upset he was. If I can’t get through a weekend without a stove then I better get a new job! I told him I had at least six other options for cooking. I could use my propane camp stove, any one of 5 little single burner Sterno stoves, my solar oven, my outdoor fireplace, my gas grill or, since I had power, a little electric fry pan I have kicking around. I could even fire up my wood stove if I was really desperate. I also have lots of things to eat that need no cooking.
The final thing is about potato blight. Kate over at livingthefrugallife has a terrific post on dealing with blight. She did the right thing when she found some and called her county extension agent and followed his advice. Check out her blog if yu want to read about the process.
Oops. One more thing. Andrea at chicky-bit-run has a picture of her land on her site. it is beautiful! go take a look if you want a smile.