Jun 5, 2011
Yesterday Mama Pea posted about taking inventory of what canned and frozen goods she had left from past season's harvest, and I thought I'd take advantage of our day of thunderstorms to do the same.
Ugh! One thing led to another and next thing I was cleaning both the side by side fridge, my little chest freezer, and started throwing things in a crock pot madwoman style.
I only had 2 jars of pickled jalapenos left in the pantry so that wasn't too difficult. The freezer however was a different matter, it was horrifying. Like a "B" horror movie, Attack of the Beans! I still have about 20 bags of Chinese Long Beans, and to think I planted twice that much out in the beds a couple of weeks ago. FOUR gallon size bags of whole jalapenos, LOL. It also became very evident the pros of using the Food Saver. I ran out of Food Saver bags late in the season last year and everything that was in Ziploc bags had lots of frost inside. I even straw-sucked the air out! Needless to say I threw out the frostbitten stuff, as the new beans will be coming in soon.
I still had 1 gallon size bag of last-run tomatoes I had frozen whole, so I popped them in the crock pot with a few jars of sauce and the beans I had soaked last night and after adding some other "stuff", cranked out a nice batch of chili for the freezer. It won't last long though, since any premade stuff gets eaten pretty quickly with hubby having to take his evening dinner to work with him.
If you haven't done this, give it a try with the odds and ends tomatoes you have. The texture won't resemble tomatoes after freezing, but you end up with an easy way to preserve a few here and there to use as a substitute for stewed tomatoes. The freezer breaks the skin for you so all you need do is thaw, peel and throw into a chili or sauce to make it chunky. Don't get me wrong, not a substitute for a real batch of stewed tomatoes, but when you don't have enough to do anything with, just keep adding them to a bag in there.
One thing led to another...
This had been on my to-do list for a few weeks now. I always dread the yearly defrost since that means I have to cram it all in the fridge-freezer, which is impossible.
I was ruthless in throwing stuff. Below, now the freezer is clean and ready for this year's harvest. The only thing from last year are the 5 jars of tomato sauce and salsa on the bottom. I "sort of" have a plan... the basket on top with hold frozen baked goods and cookies, and the bin on the left will hold pre-made dinners. I want to can all the tomato sauce instead of freezing, this tiny freezer gets so packed that I can't find a thing otherwise. That's the plan anyways...
So where did the rest of the stuff go that was in there? I put the rest of last summer's corn, beans and pepper strips in the main fridge, where they will be smack in my face while prepping dinner, more likely to be used up. The shelf on top of that is all fruit. I still have 4 pints of strawberry puree, 3 pints of jam, 1/2 gallon bag of whole blueberries, and 10 pints of pure blackberry juice - blackberry vodka lemonade, anyone? You may notice I don't have any root vegetables, we can't store them here. In our part of the country the water table is only about 6 feet down so no root cellars or basements, and the high temps and humidity make storage impossible. I do have about 6 shallots and 4 garlic bulbs left, so we did well with those over winter.
Last night I treated myself to a few "cute" canning jars. I wanted to get some little ones for pesto, herbs and the like, and also grabbed some of the small with the wide lids for homemade sugar scrub and foot scrub. The wide lids make it so much easier to get hands into and the small size makes for a great stocking stuffer or gift.
That of course, led to a whole cleanout and inventory of the canning supplies...
Hubby and the kids got out of my hair for awhile today and when they came back the kids brought me some wheat they picked on the side of the road. I hope they didn't expect me to make something out of the 8 or 9 stalks LOL. They did make for a nice accent next to the bread I baked though!
Getting rid of pumpkin puree.... I love my new square mini cake pan/muffin thingy. I'm not sure what it's for technically, but it makes cute loaves/muffins perfect for packing in a lunch.
Will it do any good to vow yet again that this year will be different? That I WILL keep better track of what I have and not forget about stuff in the freezer? We won't count the times I ran out to get red sauce since I was positive we had no more... yet as of this evening there are 3 more jars in the freezer. This year I will can more of it instead of freezing, last year with hubby deployed I honestly didn't think we would need much. Of course I planted fewer tomatoes in anticipation of that but then disease took many of them, still leaving me with less than I wanted.
In summary: more sauce, less beans!
I hope to make the kids a batch of strawberry ice cream tomorrow with some of that puree, but then again I might do nothing at all, I just want to sit down and call it a night!