Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Inventory

Much as I would like to say that my quiet winter days are spent knitting around the woodstove( not that there isn't a fair amount of that going on.) there are some days where the management of the homestead takes priority. Keeping an inventory of what food is in the pantry is one of those regular chores that, if left forgotten, could leave one finding vital ingredients missing when you need them most.  It is also important to know if you are eating too much from one area of your food storage than another to avoid any waste.

This is especially important when considering home canned food.  I have recently planned my seed order for the coming  growing season.  I think the list is complete; but doing an inventory of what we have eaten more of; thus far, will help to gauge whether I should order more of one thing over another.  

This year I put up 24 quarts of tomato puree.  Right now I only have 10 quarts left.  Not bad, considering we really didn't break into them until November.  Most of those jars were used in soups so they were efficiently used; maximizing their meals per jar. But if the goal is greater self sufficiency,  I should strive to increase that number next year.   I will have to consider whether I should buy tomato product when I run out or make do without until next growing season.  Next growing season, I hope to double the number of tomato plants I grow so that the tomato stuffs last longer.  I also plan to dehydrate some plum tomatoes. 

 However, I find that we still have a lot of dried zuchinni. We have just recently started adding it  into soups so I will watch whether I need to put up as much as I did last year.  

Keeping an inventory of staples such as sweeteners, oils, grains and beans is good as well. It will help you to decide whether that item that you bought in a small quantity, at the health food store, would get you a better savings if you could buy it in a larger quantity through a buying club or special order.  That seems to be the case for us with respect to whole wheat pasta and popcorn.  I think we will also start buying blackstrap molasses in larger quantities. We use it enough that the savings of buying it by the gallon is better than the  quart that we get it in now.

The next area that I have to concentrate on is the freezer.  When we butchered our pig we had to put most of the meat in the small freezer that  covered all of the veggies. Now,  there is enough room in the freezer to find everything.  I should look to see that we aren't hitting the berries too hard as they are one of the fruits that is easy to feed the Wee one and they need to last.  I should check to see if the pork is  balanced between small cuts for a meat and potato meals and roasts, hams for bigger meals and soup.  This will help to improve my menu planning.

I don't necessarily have any great "system" for this job.  I keep an initial list of what I canned/froze on the inside door of the pantry and freezer door. I wipe down the shelves and I check that all lids are secure and there is nothing funky growing. This is also a time that I check the potatoes I keep in brown paper bags under the bathroom sink and compost any that have soft spots. This will protect any others from going bad.  I  also check the winter squash for spots and I will cook any that look they might go bad soon.

Well, back to work...

3 comments:

Posh And Trendy Back to Basic's said...

We're talking about dehydrating plum tomatoes this year.. we all eat tons of tomatoes and I thought they would take up less space.
Last year I froze lots of chunked up zucchini for soups and have been very pleased with the texture after their cooked. I've never thought about dehydrating them... great idea.

Emma said...

Like previous commentator I found the idea of dehydrating zucchini interesting! How do you do that? Feel really yellous of your fantastic foodsupplie, great job!

Kathy said...

On this very cold (below zero here) day I wish you Happy ___ Birthday, Dear Niece.

Keep warm by the fire today. I'm feeling those nice wooly socks now.

Love you.