We’re getting to the part of winter when the fresh food stores from fall are starting to go bad and/or get used up. It takes money and effort to build up stores, it makes no sense to let stuff go to waste, not if you can avoid or mitigate the loss.
Keep eyes on the food. Every couple of weeks, (depending on the size of your stores and storage conditions) give everything a good going through. This is more vital with some crops than it is with others. Potatoes and apples both have a lot of water, and when they go bad they can take entire baskets of good food with them. Carrots on the other hand, or garlic, they just sort of shrivel up and get musty. Totally dead and inedible, but not as immediately dangerous to the surrounding storage food. Just make a habit of checking through everything and pulling out the mouldy or dying.
Keep the food accessible. A giant crate of sweet potatoes isn’t going to do you as much good if it’s at the bottom of a ladder on the other side of the house. With some of my stores I will keep the main bulk down in the cold basement, and bring a small selection up every week or so to live in the kitchen. Apples and garlic and onions work well with that system, I use a fairly stable amount of those every week.
USE THINGS UP! I catch myself sometimes trying to save the last head or two of garlic, thinking I’ll want to roast the last head so I can spread it on bread and worship it. What usually seems to happen when I try to save the last of anything is it just goes bad before I get around to that perfect goodbye meal. Booo… So, I try to avoid that trap, and finish up the food when it’s time to finish it up.
Don’t be so picky. I have to push hubby on this one, he’ll toss things out for what I would consider cosmetic issues. :-D Stews, soups, casseroles, these are all your friends for using up the not-so-pretty bits of stored food. I made up a Dutch Oven full of great lamb stew this past weekend, and used up the last of my red potatoes, the last of my carrots (I had one that would have won one of those Rude Vegetable contests. :-D ) and the second to last garlic clove. The carrots were way beyond what I would put in a salad or stir fry, but slow cooked to lamb-soaked goodness, nobody would even guess that they had started out a little lack-lustre.
I’m sure you all checked on your food stores first thing this year.
Well, you can go do it now and I won’t tell. Don’t forget to replenish what was used up in the holiday bustle. Prep smarter folks, don’t throw your money away, that way you can buy more cool gear, or SHTF coffee mugs.
– Calamity Jane