Oct 13, 2010

Taking Lessons from Squirrels

We've been putting up a fair bit of food lately; getting things stocked up for the coming winter when a little taste of summer can come from a jar. We've been working through existing stocks of things and replenishing as needed, buying in bulk when possible, and generally staying ahead of things.

We went through ALL of our stored food Monday night and made a list of what we had.

The end result was staggering. Three hand-written pages of stuff, sorted by location, and covering all the food groups. We've quite a bit of venison from last fall that needs to get used up; stew and chili will be in the near future. Lots of rice. Lots of tomato products that MrsZ has put up from our farm share. Beans. Peas. Prepared stuff that we froze and tucked away for easy meals later on. Plenty of pasta. Tuna fish. Popcorn. Oil. Dry milk. Canned fruits and jams.

We could survive for quite some time without a trip to the store if we needed to, and that's a great feeling.

MrsZ has been making an effort to can more things lately, thereby saving our precious freezer space for the things that really don't can well (venison loin and steaks, bread products, and so forth). Tonight as I headed to work, she was just closing the pressure canner on seven quarts of stock. Good rich stuff, bits of chicken, lots of vegetables, some watermelon rind (seriously, this works - try it!)... there's probably another 7-10 quarts waiting to be canned, and I'll be making another 6-8 quarts from each of the chicken carcasses I roasted today.

Good stock is magical stuff; it outstrips bouillon or store-bought stock by orders of magnitude, and can be tweaked to your own tastes if you really like. It adds depth to soups and makes casseroles into amazing dishes. And it's not hard to make. Just throw a bunch of whatever you have around - bones, wilty vegetables, onions, carrots, celery, freezer-burned meat, etc - into a big pot of water and let it simmer for a while. Separate the solids from the liquid and freeze (or can) the liquid. Voila, stock!

No comments: