It’s that time of year again–the time to start clearing out the basement chest freezer and bringing it all upstairs to eat.
Right now, there’s no way I can fit everything that’s down there in the upstairs freezer–though I brought up most of the lamb, a few packages of vegetables (sweet corn, broccoli, roasted squash and beans), a package of frozen pie cherries, some dried morels, and a couple yogurt containers of sauteed morels as well.
But, there’s still some leftovers from our meaty Chili Blues chili, four whole chickens (are they breeding in there to keep warm? I swear there should only be two), still more packages of vegetables, last year’s chokecherries frozen with a little sugar. There’s a couple big bags of frozen cooked pinto beans that were too much to add to the aforementioned chili.
There’s also couple bags of flour–a white and a wheat, and several four-packs of stuffed peppers I made last early fall–some with beef and some with lamb. I’d be making some of them for dinner tonight, but I need to use up the turkey from last weekend’s bird. I’m doing that by making a chowder with some of the remaining sweet corn.
As I’m sorting through what’s left down there, I’m replacing what I take out with water jugs. Throughout the winter months, we’ve been drinking cider, and the jugs that have the snap-on rather than screw-on cap have been rinsed and tossed down there to save for this and other projects.
Adding the water jugs to the freezer helps it hold the cold as I’m emptying it out so it doesn’t run overtime trying to keep just a few things frozen. Now that I’ve started this project, I’m going to have to be more conscious about using frozen foods in meals whenever possible, so I can clear the chest out fully and unplug it for the season.
Last night, I also took inventory of the canned goods in the pantry–we were out of peaches and tomato sauce and low on salsa and tomato soup and a few other things as well.
Too, the empty jars were piling up on top of my basement workbench, waiting to be sorted into the cases of half-pints, pints, and quarts–regular or wide-mouth. Under the bench, four stacks of boxes holding full (on the left) and empty (on the right) jars.
There’s about twelve to fourteen mostly full cases down there, and I don’t know what I’d do for storage if ever I managed to empty every jar residing in the house–I’ve got two shelves in the pantry–about six more cases of jars–full of home-canned foods.
Luckily, I guess, we’ll still be eating some of last year’s canning while I’m starting to fill the empties with this year’s projects. There are also a few hold-overs from 2008 in the pantry, and a very few from earlier than that.
Heck, I still need to have a Bloody Mary brunch to use those pickled asparagus spears from ‘ought eight–I’ve even got horseradish root ready to grate in the crisper drawer. Who’s with me?