Saturday, May 29, 2010
Gearing Up for 2010 Preserving
Maybe it was when I worked in the professional world that I realized the value of keeping records. I keep a supper notebook. I keep a children's clothing notebook. I also keep a preserving notebook.
A sample entry:
25 August 2009
1 gallon organic beets from Earl - $6
yield: 12 pints pickled beets (SinS)
plus some leftover (I think Earl gave me more than a gallon)
I reference this preserving notebook a lot, especially for prices, suppliers, and quantities. Prior to this notebook, I had to figure out every summer how many freezer boxes I would get from how many dozen of corn (8 dozen ears yields approximately 40 cups cut off corn). I would search through the phone book trying to remember which farmers I went to. I would wonder if $8 for a half bushel of apples was a good price or I should keep looking? (for non-organic, yes, that's a good price around here).
Before I launch into preserving for the year, I take inventory of my freezer and canning shelves. I was very surprised this year by some of the items remaining:
23 c. frozen blueberries
7 boxes freezer strawberry jam
20 quarts whole tomatoes
10 quarts applesauce
Was I subconsciously hoarding? I do recall that I did not make tomato soup often because I didn't want to use up my tomatoes, but Margo, using up the food is the WHOLE POINT. To be fair, I did do several tomato products last year that I used: salsa, tomato chutney, and pizza sauce.
As I counted stuff in my freezer, I noticed with dread that I needed to clean it. I loathe cleaning out freezers, so I do it as little as possible (only the second time for this chest freezer in the eight years we've owned it). It's such a pain to figure out what to do with the stuff and wait for the frost to melt. This year my dear husband schlepped our stuff over to my parents' nearly empty freezer:
Margo: I'm just calling to see if we can use your freezer today - didn't know if you went to Costco and got a bunch of chicken breasts or something.
Mom (laughing merrily): no, no, I wouldn't do that.
The frost dropped onto the freezer floor; I scooped it out, broke it up, and set it in my flowerbeds to melt. Using our wet-dry shop vac, I vaccumed up the flour/ice glop left and wiped down the whole thing with dish detergent in hot water.
When it was finally done, I rewarded myself with lots of Ghirardelli.