Using up last year's bounty

Wendy S. Delmater
By Wendy S. Delmater on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 - 8:53am

This year marked a transition for us. Instead of the home-grown, home-canned or dried foods being kept in a separate place of honor as an oddity, they moved from our pantry to our kitchen cabinets and replaced many things we bought from outside the home. There are home-dried basil, dill, corriander, and parsley in my spice cabinet. Those will keep, and at a year old they are probably younger than the spices I could buy at the store. The canned things, however, have a much shorter shelf life.

At this point in the year, since you are supposed to use up your home-canned food within one year, we are in a race to use it all up. Abundance is a good thing, but throwing out food is not even to be considered. So what this is doing is forcing us to change how we eat, slowly, as we increase production..

The first step was a Spring inventory, not only to see what was left but to kep tabs on what was popular. I now know, for example, that the sweet pickle relish was much more popular with my family than the dill relish. The garlic spears, dill chips, and bread-and-butter pickles are what get eaten; the waternelon pickles are about to grace the next pot luck dinner we go to, to get rid of them.The jelly-jar sized pizza & pasta tomato sauce was more useful than the quart-sized one. And this year taught us that the pear pie filling in quart jars was much more in demand than the sliced pears or pear halves. And that we can never have enough pear sauce (it's like applesauce, but made from pears and especially good with ginger.)

We sun-dried too many tomatoes, but that's just because I do not have enough good recipes that use sun-dried tomatoes, so I am researching that. And I have added some meals to my menu that will use up our excess canned tomatoes. I made too much jam and am going to make jam-filled cookies with them. The excess dried figs are going into packed lunches instead of apples. Practce makes perfect and the learning curve on this is pretty steep, but we are making the transition to food independence.

11 Comments

Woodman's picture
Woodman
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1028
using last year's bounty

I had too many sundried tomatoes also, and am still working through the 2011 jars to feed to the chickens.  

Too many red potatoes last year, which don't store as long as say Yukon Gold, so I'm using the leftover reds for seed potatoes and will plant more Yukon Gold this year.

My daughter eats peas like candy so we'll grow more this year.  I just shell them, rinse and freeze in air tight bags, no blanching, and they store really well, much nicer than storebought frozen or canned.

We definitely need to make more peach jam to meet current demand.  

featherjack's picture
featherjack
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 7 2010
Posts: 51
Quit a milestone!

Congratulations, Wendy! Moving your home-grown and -preserved foods front and center is a coup you should be proud of. And I admire your inventory/documentation skills. I seem to fall down on that a lot.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
Woodman, I

Woodman, I made peach jam and it did not set. (Neither did the brandied black cherry jam.) They became yogurt flavorings.

At least your jam was jam.

EarlyGirl's picture
EarlyGirl
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 27 2012
Posts: 11
jam set

Wendy - You can reprocess your jam with pectin to get it to set.

The U of Georgia has some really good preserving resources. Here's some good info on jam set:

http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_07/jellied_product_ingredients.html

-EarlyG

bmega's picture
bmega
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Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 12
Using up bounty.....Learning curve

Like the post,   for me, using up last years bounty is always a learning curve.   Just went through my herb reserves,,   have big bag of extra rosemary and sweet bay that I grew..   enough for a small restaurant,,,  thought about donating it to one,,, .   do any of you swap or have favorite places to do "Give aways?"

I also can't help thinking about growing and collecting useful things.....  with an eye down the road for  having great items in hard times and maybe even trade.

for example,,   I am a coffee hound.. but coffee cannot seem to be grown ( to any viable extent)  in US of a... so, i am growing tea shrubs......

 

bmega's picture
bmega
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 12
Hey ! wanna trade?

I would love to have sundried tomatoes,   would you want to trade  any 2012  for some organic herbs?  

Betsy 

featherjack's picture
featherjack
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 7 2010
Posts: 51
*Quite* a milestone!

Dag nabbit!

Thrivalista's picture
Thrivalista
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 5 2011
Posts: 60
Make tomato powder

You can dry the tomatoes further, until they're crisp, then powder them in a blender or food processor. The resulting powder is easy to add to soups and sauces, or sprinkle on salads & sandwiches, for an intense tomato flavor. And it takes up less room to store. Might wanna store it in the fridge in warm climates.

prana's picture
prana
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Joined: Oct 4 2010
Posts: 6
pesto

Make pesto with basil leaves, sundried tomatoes etc. Make sure the (very clean and sterilised) jar is filled to the brim with olive oil. Ours lasted -- not refrigerated -- 4 to 5 months.

jasonw's picture
jasonw
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 17 2011
Posts: 1019
Canned?

prana - do you can the pesto or just fresh pack and then cover with olive oil?  We make a lot of pesto here but always put it in the freezer for long term storage.  Should I be concerned with the nuts and cheese we add to the pesto when trying your method?

prana's picture
prana
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 4 2010
Posts: 6
Pesto

JasonW, we just bottle it making sure olive oil is topped up. of course it lasts ages in the fridge. We also keep in our rather cold cellar and it has been good for a month. It has never lasted longer than that!

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