Monday, March 21, 2011

Cleaning out the pantry and freezer!

This weekend I got into a "nesting" mode as my husband likes to call it and went through all of our pantry and freezer space to really take inventroy of what all we have left from last year. This serves a couple of purposes: 1) is to see what we have an abundance of and use it up before our canning season starts so we will have space and 2) to see what we ran out of early so I'll know if there are things we need to can more of of.

Things that I still have an abundance of from last year:
- apple mint jelly
-apple butter
-pumpkin butter
-blackberry jam
-fig jelly
-strawberry jam
- pear preserves ( 25 pints of this alone)
-pepper jelly
-pepper relish
-green tomato chow chow
-pasta sauce
-tomato juice
-canned diced and whole tomatoes
-salsa ( mild)
-muscadine jelly
-pickled peppers
-dill pickles
-I still have plenty of dried herbs, including lavendar to work with
-corn on the cob
-bell peppers
-fish fillets
-ground deer meat and deer steaks

Things that we ran out of, or are almost out of and I should do more for next year:
-green beans
-vegetable soup
-bread and butter pickles
-cherry jelly ( I only had enough to make 3 pints and those were gone fast!)
-plum jelly ( made about 8 pints but this is my Dad's fave, so he ended up with about 5 of them)
-dried apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, etc. ( I was just perfecting my drying technique and didn't do a whole lot of those)

-frozen strawberries
-frozen blueberries
-frozen blackberries
-corn off the cob
-deer stew meat
-purple hull peas

One thing that we really enjoyed this past winter ( which seemed to be particulary cold for our area) was the vegetable soup. We really enjoyed a big bowl of that with some homeade bread, biscuits or cornbread on a cold day. All of the frozen fruit was used quickly also, in smoothies, pies, cakes, ice cream etc.

As far as the pecans go, I couldn't really have put up any more than I stored. I picked every single one up off the ground. We used them in trail mixes, cakes, pies, cookies, etc. Mainly around Christmas baking time.

I'd also like to put up more green beans this year, they aren't that hard and we enjoy them a lot.

I want to encourage you all to take an inventory of your pantry and freezers and really take a look at what you need and want for this next year and plan accordingly. If you put up 100 pints of pepper jelly, and still have 98 left, perhaps you skip that this year :). Of course the point is to enjoy it fresh as much as possible, and beleive me, during the summer we eat most of our meals all completly from the garden, but we of course have excess and it's so soothing knowing that in the dead of winter that apple butter , soup or other veggies will warm your spirit!

What about you guys? Any funny stories of over zealous canning? What do you always run out of?


  1. I hope that this upcoming summer and fall I will be able to can a pantry full of goodies :) Your list looks amazing. All I canned last year was green beans, carrots, and tuna fish :)

  2. Wow! I'm amazed at your inventory! I haven't yet dipped into canning. I guess I feel intimidated, as I have no experience with it.

    Looks like you're in good shape for quite some time!

  3. @ Renee: Wow tuna fish, that is something I've never done. Of course all we have around here is fresh water fish and I typically just freeze it.

    @ Daisy: you have GOT to learn how to can. It's so easy, fun and delicious. Hopefully I can be a help to you. Get you a book from the library. You can do it!

  4. My goodness! This is absolutely amazing. I'm not even gonna guess at what is left over, but I know there is some. This is such a great idea-
    I really need to do this because I want to be able to use what I get this year with no waste.

    Your list is fantastic.
    Do you mind if I email you with some questions regarding canning? Dates, how long will these things keep etc?
    Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Corn in my coffe Pot- You may certainly email me! I'm certainly not an expert though. I'm only 28, but I was lucky enough to grow up in a family that lived waaaaayyyyy out in the country with parents and grandparents that canned, kept livestock and gardened.

  6. That was a very inspiring post! Now I REALLY want to grow enough to can this year. In the past I have grown carrots, onion, corn and potatoes and froze them, I had enough to last us all winter. So hopefully this year I will be able to learn how to can instead of just freeze my veggies! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  7. Learn to can! you can so do it! I'm only 28, it's not like I have been canning for 50 years or anything. I actually use to can leftover stuff from my parents garden in my tiny little apartment when I was in college. Go to the library, they have tons of books, or look into the Ball Canning website. You CAN DO IT!

  8. I am really excited! My mom and my sister are going to teach me how. I have the Ball Canning book, but I am more of hands on learner. Thank you for the encouragement! I will keep you posted on how my canning experience goes :)

  9. You will do great, and I'm telling you it's addicting.