Monday, January 3, 2011

Stock the pantry

Originally I thought that I would allow myself to buy canned fruits or vegetables as well as possibly a few items like the aforementioned coffee creamer.  Maybe include pasta because I'm apprehensive about making it.  There's no reason to kill myself in the attempt to follow through on this experiment, right?

But then I started thinking.  This homemade year experiment is about really challenging myself.  About not taking the easy route.  Honestly, I'm not so good at halfway.  Once I give myself permission to not give 100%, it's a slippery, and fast moving, slope to completely slacking off.  And I need to change that.

So I made the decision that I won't have any exemptions for things I know I can make, even if it will be a little tricky or time-consuming.  That means no canned tomatoes, no store-bought coffee creamer, no boxed chicken broth.  Because I've done the research and I really, truly can make those things.  My plan is to make large batches of staples I use often and either freeze or can them for future use.  Homemade doesn't have to mean made fresh at each meal, it just has to produced by me.
Here are the staple foods I know I need to make in the near future:

stewed tomatoes
chicken stock
cream-of-whatever soup
pureed pumpkin
spaghetti sauce

I'm sure I'll think of more as time goes on.  Anyone have anything they use on a regular basis that I may have forgotten?

On a slight tangent, by the time summer hits and more produce comes into season, I'm hoping to be comfortable enough with canning to put up lots of fruits and veggies to carry us through next winter.  I have fond memories of the shelves in my grandmother's basement, row after row of jars full of peaches, pears, dill pickles.  Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

If you're in the Seattle area and want to join me for canning or freezing sessions, let me know!


  1. jam is a big one here. I started making it because we couldn't find a store bought one that we liked. I felt silly for having ever purchased it at all when I found out how super easy freezer jam is to make. Even jarring jam is not difficult and either taste so much better than even the most expensive stuff on the store shelves.

  2. i dont know if she is doing it this year but does a canning challenge wherein folks do a monthly canning thing all based on the same produce- for me it was a nice way of getting new recipes and to get more comfy waterbath canning AND gave me lots of other bloggytype people to follow- they were all really great resources!...we started canning in the summer and i have to say that so far we have slashed our food budget in half because we are using the panty items....I havent done pasta yet since i am worried about drying it for storage....
    do you have a pressure canner? i think you need one for pumpkin....

  3. You are a bold woman for stewing tomatoes! That is one thing I will never do again because it takes so dang long for so little result! The rest will be completely doable though! I'm so excited for you! I make and freeze beans (garbanzos, black, white, pinto) as they seem to be essential in this house!

  4. Hey, mayo is super easy to make at home. Let me know if you need directions.

    - Mollie

  5. I 2nd the Tigress Can Jam. I did it last year and will do it again this year. I learned a ton about canning and got great recipes! She is hosting it again this year but the details haven't been announced yet.