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A Clean Pantry

January 6th, 2016

Cleaning the pantry was yesterday’s item on The Cure. For me, that essential means half the kitchen. The pantry is about the same size as the kitchen and houses a ton of stuff. There are big glass containers full of bulk items like salt, popcorn, dried fruit, grains, etc. There are also glass storage containers, food stuffs, and pretty much everything I use for cooking besides dishes and pots & pans.
pantry cleaning 1
There were nails here and there and hooks that were only put in with one screw (from previous owners) that I have just never gotten around the removing. Those came down, all the rough sawn wooden shelves got a really good vacuuming, which removed the cobwebs that invariable accumulate.
pantry cleaning 2
pantry cleaning 3
Everything came off of every shelf and they were each vacuumed, there’s no washing them since they are rough sawn lumber, but at least there’s no more dust or mouse droppings. This is an old not very well sealed up house so we get mice in the pantry all the time. Now you know why everything is sealed up tightly in glass jars. The cats catch the mice, but not before they scurry around leaving a bit of a mess here and there.
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I’m always amassing eggs for my various egg customers, one of which picks up five dozen every couple weeks.
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Last week I got these containers to organize my various caps for glass jars. They used to be in one large basket on the floor, but it always took time to find the size I was looking for. Now they’re organized into the three different sizes that I have and it’s perfect. It’s also nice that they’re up off the floor. After being asked a few time about these containers, they’re Koziol Organizer , made in Germany from BPA free plastic.
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pantry cleaning 7
The shelves look much neater & tidier after a good cleaning. I didn’t purge much, I tend to do that throughout the year as I’m cooking. Every single jar/bottle was wiped down to get rid of any dust that had accumulated, which is quite a lot in an old dusty house. I’m not 100% finished yet, I still have to finish taking out everything that’s on the floor and giving the floor a good cleaning. It’s nice to have this very involved chore out of the way for the year.

What spring cleaning chores do you need to tackle before the garden gets going again?

Quote of the Day: Pantry

October 5th, 2015

“Winter was nearly here; the foraging was over, the garden harvested, the preserving done. The pantry shelves bulged with sacks of nuts, heaps of squash, rows of potatoes, jars of dried tomatoes, peaches, and apricot, bowls of dried mushrooms, wheels of cheese, and baskets of apples. Braids of onions and garlic and strings of dried fish hung from the ceiling; bags of flour and beans, barrels of salt cured beef and salt fish, ands tone jars of sauerkraut stood on the floor. I counted over my hoard like a squirrel reckoning nuts, and felt soothed by our abundance. No matter what else happened, we would neither starve nor go hungry.”

Diana Gabaldon in Drums of Autumn (Outlander)

Picking apples
Canned applesauce
I’ve been reading the ‘Outlander’ series. This weekend I happened to be reading while canning applesauce and I read this passage. I had to smile to myself, because it’s so true!
onions in the pantry
My root cellar is filled with onions and potatoes, there’s garlic in the basement, the freezer is filled with fruit, vegetables and meat, the pantry is filled with onion braids, dried apples, maple syrup, and all manner of food tucked into jars. It’s a wonderful feeling being soothed by abundance because of the hard work you put in over the summer.

Do you manage to grow enough to preserve or just enough to eat fresh in season?

Making Room for Fresh Bounty

June 11th, 2012

I don’t can much in the summer. There are only two of us and I’d much rather eat things fresh from the garden than from a jar. In the winter we focus on trying to grow/eat things that don’t need canned/frozen like cabbage, potatoes, bitter winter hardy greens, and winter squash. That being said, I will always spend some time in the summer putting up jars of fresh tomatoes, some pickled items and a few jars of jams and chutneys. There will also always be dried spices and beans.

Since I don’t can that much, I don’t end up having much left at the end of the winter to eat up before lining the pantry shelves with freshly canned items. This year it looks like I have about 10 quarts of tomato soup, 10 pints of crushed tomatoes, and a few random flavors of jams/jellies/chutneys. I also have a few pounds of dried beans that need used up.

As I was cleaning out the pantry this weekend and taking stock of what I needed to use up, I realized my list of items looked like a chili. Thanks to Mr Chiot’s hunting this past fall, we also have a freezer stocked with venison, though we’ve eaten about half of that already. Venison chili it is then.

I started soaking my beans last night (I always sprout beans before cooking with them to make them more digestible) and tomorrow I’ll start a big pot of chili on the stove.

Looks like I’ll also have enough tomatoes to make some marinara; time to seed some basil! I’ll be happy to see all these jars and containers emptied, scrubbed, and put back on the jar shelf in the basement. There’s nothing better than preserving some of your own and enjoying it.

Do you carry over canned food items from year to year or do you try to eat everything up within the year? What’s your favorite, pantry cleaning recipe?

Never thought to add it, but Pat asked in the comments about my shelves. They are Seville Classics 18-Inch by 48-Inch by 72-Inch Shelving System with Wheels, Chrome and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. I like that they are one wheels so I can roll them out for cleaning. They’re super strong so I don’t have to worry about shelves bowing or jars breaking. I have many sets of these in my basement and recommend them highly!

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.