Monday, June 25, 2012

Taking Inventory

Before the summer canning frenzy really begins, I take inventory of what we used and what we have left.  This helps me determine what I want to put up this year and what we need more or less of based on how much we used. 

The What's Been Preserved 2011 box on the side of the blog indicates what I put up last year, mostly during the summer months.  Here is what is left from that supply...

My pie safe now-  it was full and I was using a separate
kitchen cabinet for overflow (which is now empty).
4 pints spiced apples
1 half pint apple butter
3 pints pickled pears
1 pint peaches in syrup
2 quarts peach pie filling
3 half pints muscadine jelly
5 pints applesauce
5 pints pickled beets
3 half pints chow chow
1 pint quick pickles
1 pint watermelon rind pickles
2 pints salsa verde

My deep freezer which was full to the top is now
relatively empty except for a few things.
1 pint zucchini
6 ears corn on the cob
1 quart tomato soup
5 quarts field peas

It is very helpful to take inventory like this.  It enables me to see what we ate a lot of throughout the year and what we didn't use as much.  It is interesting that we used most of our frozen food supply but have more canned items left.  Most of our frozen foods were items we used regularly at dinner whereas many of our canned items were condiments or once-in-a-while foods.  The canned items we used most often were those which could be eaten straight from the jar without having to be paired with other foods (i.e. peaches in syrup, pickles). 

I try to use frozen foods, canned tomatoes, and fruits in syrup within the year.  Items that are pickled or jams/jellies can go a little longer.  I think a two year span is reasonable for those.  That means that I will not make things like chow chow, pickled pears, or pickled beets this year unless I just feel a great urge to do so (which I seriously doubt will happen). 

What we did learn after taking inventory and looking back at our original preserving list is that we really need to put up more of some foods.  The foods we used frequently and ran out of before we would have liked were:

pasta sauce
basic tomato sauce
corn off the cob
green beans
salsa (tomato based)
peaches (both canned and frozen)
pickles (sweet and dill)

I spent yesterday focusing on the green beans on that list.  I froze 11 quarts which is four more than last year, and my beans are still producing abundantly in the garden, so there will likely be more.  I am also in the process of making pickles.  I will post about both of these very soon. 

So, whether you can a little or a lot, an inventory is beneficial in helping you make sure you have enough but not too much of a good thing.  It is also really rewarding to look back at everything you put up and realize that a great deal of it was used.  It makes you realize that all of your hard work was appreciated. 

1 comment:

  1. I did the same thing a little while ago. While I didn't have an exact record of what I had put up last summer, I still recognized trends in what I tend to use and what I leave lying around. I've learned that canned whole tomatoes are much more useful to me than sauce - and less work to put up! The jewels of my freezer were bell pepper strips, dried tomatoes and roasted red pepper strips. Now I know what to devote my attention to this summer!