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Friday, October 17, 2014

What have we here?

Leaden skies, scudding clouds, a bit of rain and wind. Well, they are welcome; that was the longest summer, I think, we've ever had here, and the water in the well was getting low.

It's that time of the year, for us Northern Hemisphere inhabitants: inventory is on my mind. I'm going to prowl about in the kitchen, the pantry and the cold room to write down items and, for some, their current weight. This will help us with the upcoming Hummingbird order. Here is an inventory, with remarks, from a post here from four years ago:
February 2010 Stored Food Inventory
We've always bought bulk and stocked up. Not all that much of it is local; many things we get from our food cooperative turn out to be from Texas or somewhere, and of course there's the rice ... on the other hand, we eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit, grown right here, that would not show up in a midwinter inventory; organic, though not "certified."
What's on hand? I mean other than in the refrigerator, like yogurt, or the cabinet where the incidental canned goods live? For example I don't list below some things such as the peanut butter, which we used to buy in ten pound lots but now grind for ourselves at the grocery store, a pound at a time.
Taking a spiral notebook, a pen, and a flashlight, I give myself a tour. Hmmmm ...
Under the kitchen work counter there are two galvanized steel trash cans on casters.
Can #1
  • 10 lb. stone ground WW flour
  • 10 lb. spelt flour
  • 5 lb. rye flour
Can # 2
  • 20 lb. pinto beans
  • 10 lb. short grain brown rice
  • 15 lb. Basmati brown rice
  • 30 lb. rolled oats
In the cold room are three more such cans.
Can #3
  • 5 lb. flaxseed
  • 25 lb. wheat berries
  • 25 lb. stone ground yellow cornmeal
Can #4
  • 18 lb. textured vegetable protein (20 lb. sack, opened)
  • 12 lb. Bear Mush (wheat porridge, remains of 20 lb. sack). We like this. But now we mostly grind our own.
Can #5
  • 25 lb. Basmati brown rice
  • 25 lb. long grain white rice
  • 5 lb. sunflower seeds
There are lots of shelves in the cold room, too, which are looking bare compared to last November. Much of what's missing now is most of the beets, apples, winter squash, pumpkins and small potatoes, and all the turnips and cabbages, all home grown.
  • 5 lb. spaghetti (angel hair)
  • 11 lb. stored apples (individually wrapped; some are only fit for the chickens by now, though)
  • 1 lb. beets
  • 170 lb sacked potatoes (most for seed), mostly reds and some Yukon Golds
  • 1 gallon jar dried peppermint, home grown
  • 1 gallon whole wheat pastry noodles
  • 15 lb. box sesame tahini
  • 10 lb. assorted bulk spices
  • 2/3 gallon pumpkin seeds
  • 1 gallon fava beans, home grown
  • 1 gallon dehydrated apple slices
  • 15 winter squash (the delicatas are out-keeping the butternuts), home grown
  • 1 15 lb. pumpkin, home grown
  • 10 liters home brew
  • 42 bottles homemade grape/apple wine
  • 1 1/2 gallons molasses
Some of the shelves in the kitchen are dedicated to gallon, half gallon, and quart jars of miscellaneous items, from which we do much of the actual cooking.
  • 1 gallon dehydrated tomatoes, home grown (we've used about half what we made)
  • 1 quart dehydrated pear slices, home grown (ditto)
  • 1/2 gallon dehydrated zuke slices, home grown (ditto)
  • -- just wiped out a gallon of apple slices, these are popular
  • 3 gallons whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 qt. fava beans, home grown
  • 1 pint runner beans, home grown
  • 10 pounds of elephant garlic in ropes and baskets, home grown
  • 1.5 gallons rolled oats
  • 2/3 gallon buckwheat flour
  • 2/3 gallon cornmeal
  • 2 lb. electro-perk Colombian coffee, self-service ground at store
  • 1 pt. wheat berries (these are going fast)
  • 2/3 gallon TVP
  • 1 gallon dried peppermint, home grown
  • 1 pint flaxseed
  • 1 quart quinoa seed
  • 1/2 gallon white sugar
  • 1 gallon pinto beans
  • 1/2 gallon black beans
  • 2 gallon molasses
  • 1/3 gallon confectioners sugar
  • 1 pint short grain rice
  • 1 pint long grain rice
  • 2 pounds sea salt, 2 pounds regular salt
  • 1 lb. raisins
  • 1/2 gallon red beans
  • 2 gallons dehydrated mixed vegetable greens, home grown (these have proved extremely useful)
  • 1 qt. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 gallon stevia (not as popular as we had hoped)
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 gallon dehydrated medicinals (haven't been sick much), home grown, mostly comfrey
  • 1 pint homemade rose hip cordial
  • 1/2 gallon whole wheat pastry noodles
  • 1 gallon sesame seeds
  • 1 gallon powdered milk
  • 1 gallon spelt flour
  • 1/2 gallon amaranth seeds
  • 2 cups chickpeas (from a gallon it took decades to go through)
  • 1 lb. Sri Lanka tea, loose packed, and assorted herb teas
On the spice shelves are quart and pint jars of home grown and bulk bought items, as well.
  • 3/4 qt. flaxseeds
  • 1/2 qt. cocoa
  • 2 qt. whole cloves
  • 1/2 qt. nutmeg
  • 1.5 qt. curry (2 kinds)
  • 1 qt. paprika
  • 1/2 qt. chili powder (this has suddenly become popular with all the bean growing)
  • 1 pint powdered ginger
  • 2 qt. dried allium blossoms, homegrown (we like much better fresh)
  • 3/4 qt. ground cloves
  • 1/2 qt. cajun spices
  • 1 pt. dried myrtle leaves, foraged (like bay leaves)
  • 1 qt. baking powder
  • 1 pint cream of tartar
  • 2 lb. baking soda
  • And some of the little jars of things, like black pepper
On the canning shelves, things are disappearing fast. As this space is unheated, you'll also find the seeds for this year stored here as well.
  • 13 pint jars tomato puree
  • 24 quart jars tomato puree
  • 25 quarts applesauce
  • 4 pints blackberry jam
  • 1 qt. maple syrup (bought)
  • 1/2 gallon dried runner beans (these are for seed)
  • 1 pint buckskin beans (ditto). Bought at a sustainability fair; said to be good in a drought
  • 2 lbs basmati puffed rice (a luxury item)
  • 1 lb. popcorn
In the freezer there is lots more space than there was in November, shown here.
  • 18 pints blown goose eggs, home grown free ranged
  • 4 pints homemade chili
  • 2 loaves homemade bread
  • 4 pints filberts, home grown
  • 1 quart plum sauce (last of about 24 from 3 years ago, 2 bad years since)
  • 30 pounds assorted homegrown vegs
  • 10 pints chicken broth, homegrown free ranged
  • 3 ducks, homegrown free ranged. Drakes, actually. All named Andrew ...
  • 6 pints boned chicken, homegrown free ranged
  • 70 lb. lamb, assorted cuts, local free ranged.
  • 8 small trout (getting freezer burn, must use and go for more), local. Definitely free ranged!
  • 15 lb. ham, local free ranged.
There are still some blueberries and blackberries in there somewhere; I just can't find them right now. There are also some highly processed foods in there, of the kind called "take and bake," that belong to Last Son; but with any luck I will stay out of those!
The things in the kitchen stay fresher than you might think, as our wood heat is in the dining room, where we hang out. Kitchen temperatures hover around 55F all winter, except during baking. This year, an especially warm winter here, even the cold room seldom drops below 50, which is really too warm for the potatoes and apples.
You'll see that our meat, especially red meat, consumption is relatively low. We're not consistently vegetarian but we do not care for CAFO's and the horrors those represent, preferring to raise and butcher for ourselves, or buy from neighbors.
What would we do differently? Well, we'd remember to put dates on things. Some have been here for years and lost some of their food value and flavor. And I know from this list that I want to try and get a big bag of barley at some point.
There is not an especially TEOTWAWKI-oriented storage plan here. We simply took advantage of cooperative bulk-buy savings, sales, gardening, orcharding, and poultry raising, mostly, in order to have a low average monthly food bill and not have to run get things, spending more on gasoline than necessary. But it is certainly an inventory on which such a plan could be founded.

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