The other day I took stock of what we still had in the way of home preserved food in the pantry and freezer, and overall we did pretty good, in terms of using up what we put by, and in having enough of it to last the year. In the pantry, we’re down to two jars of jardiniere, and seven of salsa (it would likely all be gone if I wasn’t trying to avoid nightshades and it’s not just the menfolk eating it). We’ve got a couple jars of dried herbs left – chives, thyme and rosemary. The cucumber pickles, jams and dried mushrooms are long gone – we definitely could’ve made more of those last season.
In the freezer, we’re down to two half pints of diced carrots, a single half pint of shredded zucchini, a quart and a half of whole raspberries, a couple of quarts of chicken stock, and about five pounds of blueberries. There are four half pints of pumpkin butter. And we’ve got close to half a deer’s worth of frozen venison yet.
As the freezer wants defrosting it’s time to use this stuff up. The raspberries I’m going to turn into chocolate raspberry jam, and the blueberries will go a couple different ways – my husband would likely appreciate a blueberry pie and some blueberry muffins. And I may experiment with making some tea-infused blueberry jam if I have any left after the baked goods. The pumpkin butter will get eaten up no problem, as it’s my son’s favorite sandwich spread. The carrots, zucchini and chicken stock will go into a soup. And I’d like to turn some of the venison into jerky and sausage.
And then of course, is the planning for this season. For the pantry’s water bath canning, these are the basics I’m considering –
Salsa – 36 half pints
Cucumber pickles – 48 pints
Pickled rainbow carrots – 12 pints
Apple pie jam – 12 half pints
Bananas Foster butter – 8 half pints
Gingerbread jam – 8 half pints
Apricot jam – 6 half pints
And of course, I’ll probably do some micro batches of special pickles or jams this summer as the fresh produce catches my eye. It’s always so hard to resist. The other category of canning I really want to up my game on is pressure canning, so I can start canning more meats and ready meals. I’m still working through deciding which quantities of each recipe I want to put up in this space, and of course, things like stock I’ll make on a rolling basis throughout the year as I have bones to do so. I’ll likely start with a single batch (4-6 jars) of each of the following so we can try them out and ensure we like eating them –
Vegetable beef soup
Chicken and gravy base (to use in chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings, etc.)
And of course I’ll do some dehydrated things – mushrooms, herbs, and probably a soup base mix of carrots, celery, onion and garlic. I also plan to experiment with a variety of meat jerkies this fall as well. I’ve done a basic jar inventory, and I need to buy some more half pints and quarter pints, and possibly another case or two of pints. Time to sit down and do the math!