A Peek Inside My Pantry

Early Spring is described as ‘The Hungry Gap,’ and while this usually refers to the garden, I think it applies to the pantry as well. This is the time of year when the winter’s stores are running low. Out in the garden, the green onions and parsley are just harvestable, but most of the goodness is yet to come. And inside, our pantries are looking pretty bare.

Here is what is left in my pantry. You will notice a variety of years on the labels. While I cannot recommend what others do, I find that my pickles can usually last 3 years just fine. Jams I tend to eat faster, as all that sugar and fruit seem more likely to spoil. Pickles are not only canned, but they are preserved in vinegar, so they seem pretty protected to me. But please, don’t be fool hearty, only eat canned goods with a firm seal and no mold or splotchy discoloration. If you have any doubts, chuck it. Botulism is nothing to mess with.

Anyway, steering away from Botulism and toward the delicious food remaining in my pantry…

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Top shelf – jams and fruits. Sweeties!

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I think these jams will definitely last us the 3 months until strawberries are ready to be picked and jammed and jarred once again.

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Bottom shelf – pickles and tomato sauce. Savories.

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Although I said what I said about how long pickles last, I am thinking that these curried pickles will make their way into the trash. I don’t want to eat them. And it looks like I haven’t wanted to for three years. So off they go.

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These are my crock pickles from this fall. They are not technically Kosher, since a Rabi did not bless them, but my husband let me know that ‘fermented pickles’ did not sound appetizing and asked me to call them something else. Kosher Dills is a term that we are all familiar with and associate with deliciousness, plus, this is how they are made, minus the Rabi.

I am pleased with how these turned out, even if they are not as well loved by my family as the dills I normally can. I liked the crock fermenting process; it was so easy. I would like to ferment more, in a knowledgable and safe way, and am seriously considering buying a book on it. I spent $50 on this big, 5 gallon crock, and while it was great for large batches of pickles, I realize that it is much too large for most batches of vegetables I would ferment for my small family. I will probably just use a big glass jar in the future, even though I love the way the earthenware crocks look. But let’s get real – being an urban homesteader isn’t about looking cool, no matter how much we might want it to be. It’s about doing it. And I can do it just fine in a glass jar.

Moving on…

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This pickle also is not a favorite of mine. I’ll have to ‘gift’ it to a friend. Really it would be like charity if someone would take it. I do not like how the brine turned out at all.

It also shows how some of what is left in the pantry at this time of year may be left there for a reason.

And so there you have it. My pantry is low, but my hopes are high. With one friend determined to go to Sauvie’s Island every other week this summer, and another friend determined to plan big canning get togethers, I hope that I will be able to provide well for my family in the year to come.

Next week I will add 24+ jars of pickled veggies to this lovely pantry. And so it begins again.

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About Erin O'Neill

Hi, my name is Erin O'Neill. I am a part time urban homesteader and a full time homemaker and new mom. I enjoy canning my own food, crafting, raising chickens and working my bit of land. This blog is for anyone who wants to hear about the day to day struggles and successes of incorporating the old ways of life back into today's busy world.
This entry was posted in canning, pantry, preserving, thrifty. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Peek Inside My Pantry

  1. agentlabroad says:

    2. I have a book on canning and preserving in kindle format that you can have if we can exchange e-mails..
    3. Sugar is a great preservative, and why we have jam in the first place. Before pressure cookers, sugar, and earlier honey, was a reliable way to keep things.
    4. A super interesting article by one of my favorite food theory authors about the ages of canned goods, and how sometimes aging your canned goods is best. (Just of course, watch out for bulging lids, a sure sign of botulism, and it isn’t terribly safe to fool with garlic too much on your own.)
    http://www.slate.com/articles/life/food/2013/03/aging_canned_goods_why_time_and_heat_can_make_your_canned_tuna_and_spam.html

  2. Tilly Frueh says:

    I love to see what other people have in their pantry. If I ever get enough shelf space to put all the jars I have in boxes on actual shelves, I’ll have to think about posting pictures on my blog. I have been busy all winter canning. I never thought that canning season extended beyond fall, but found so many things to can, it’s kept me busy from January on. I too have jars in my pantry from varying years. I have never had a problem with jams/jellies going “bad” other than the sugars crystalizing after five or more years (I had a bumper crop of strawberries one year and made way too much strawberry jelly). I don’t give it to others though because they tend to get scared by the dates. Great post. I enjoy your blog very much.

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