Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard...........1/19/2012

Last season I canned approximately 300 jars of goodness. My "Preserving Page" is not totally accurate since I tend to forget to add some things to it.

Yesterday I did an inventory of the canned goods in the cupboard. We started out with about 220 jars of misc. foods and 81 jars of tomatoes and tomato puree. To date we have 120 jars of misc. food and 38 jars of tomatoes and tomato puree. We gifted a lot of canned goods for Christmas as we always do. However, we did not gift one single jar of tomatoes or tomato puree. In five months we used 53% of our tomatoes and tomato puree. That means that I'm going to have to ration "The Italian's" tomato use in order to make it through. I guess that my 100 jar goal is a must around here.

With regard to other "stored goods", it looks like we are going have "just enough" garlic and onions. I am however increasing the amount of these two items in the garden this year since "just enough" is not enough. We are not going to have potatoes for much longer. I'm sure we will survive since we both need to loose some poundage right now. The potato plantings are also increasing this year. Although our squash storage is adequate, I am changing some of the varieties for this year.

We are definitely good in the herb and spice department. But, very short in the carrot department. We only have two carrots left. My new garden plans include a lot more carrots. There is enough frozen celery left to use for cooking. This year I am going to plant some celery later in the season and try storing it in sand for the winter.

As far as the frozen veggie inventory goes, I have yet to do it. I am positive that we will have plenty to get us through the year though....especially when it comes to peppers!

The cold frames have been doing very well. We did harvest all of the Pak Choi a couple of weeks ago and I am planning to harvest the giant Baby Choi soon.

So, what have we been cooking this past week?? Well, Tuesday I made a great Split Pea Soup! I found the recipe here. Sunday my in-laws gave us a great ham bone with lots of meat on it....and what a great winter dinner it made!

I only made a couple of changes to the recipe. I did not add salt or bullion cubes and used some beef stock and some water instead of all water. I also used ground white pepper instead of peppercorns.

Split Pea & Ham Soup

  • 8 cups water ( or a combination of water and beef stock)
  • 1 large ham bone
  • 2 cups green dried split peas
  • 2 large carrots diced small
  • 2 medium onions chopped small
  • 2 large celery ribs, include leaves, chop small
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 beef bullion cubes -  I did not use any bullion
  • 1 teaspoon salt - I did not use any salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns - I used ground white pepper
  • 1 pinch dried thyme

1.   Rinse peas well in cold water and add to a large cooking pot.
2.   Measure 8 cups of water and add to cooking pot.
3.   Bring to boil, remove from heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour.
4.   Return to stove and bring back to boil.
5.   Add ham bone, carrots, onions, celery, bay leaf, beef bouillon, salt, peppercorns and dried thyme.
6.   Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
7.   Remove ham bone and cut off any remaining ham, cut into bite size pieces and return to soup.
8.   Discard bone & bay leaf
9.   Adjust seasonings to taste.
10.  Serve & Enjoy!

As usual I forgot to take a picture before dinner! This is my lunch bowl the next day.

So, what's been going in or out of your Cupboard lately......and how's your inventory???


  1. I use my stored goods every day but never remember to take pictures for Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard (sigh). I love reading about it on everyone's blog.

    I will need to make another batch of salsa this weekend since our canned inventory is getting low. I still have lots of tomatoes, peppers, and onions in the freezer.

    Carrots are the only vegetable that I have been purchasing in the grocery store. I am hoping to have better luck growing carrots next year.

  2. Rachel, I always forget too! Let's pray for a much better gardening year this year. Last year was a tough one!

  3. I have had enough frozen beans, peas and peppers, and enough canned peppers and salsas and plenty of the not-so-necessary stuff dried hot peppers and relishes, did well with garlic but, egads! - I'm down to 3 quarts of tomatoes, (2 are stewed/crushed, 1 sauce)... here's to MORE tomatoes in 2012!!

  4. Erin, You should have seen the look on "The Italian's" face last night when I told him about the tomato was priceless! Then he wanted to look at my detailed garden plan layouts and started questioning me if 40 tomato plants were enough! He also said that we need to buy more jars! I guess that he doesn't look at the stacks of boxes in the basement!

  5. I enjoy reading your update on your food storage. It's interesting to see how other people are tackling the problem of growing all your own food. I use tomatoes in everything, so I understand your pain!

    The soup looks yummy. I love when people gift me the bones of... well anything!

  6. haha! I bet it was like being "called before the board" to explain yourself and your plans for "preventing recurrance of said event in the future".... LMAO!!

  7. Out tomatoes are never going to last us either. We could have done twice as much and I still think it wouldn't have been enough.

  8. Your soup looks so yummy-perfect for a blustery day like we're having today!

    We're out of carrots and peas.
    Lots of taters, onions, and garlic....but for some reason my onions are sprouting this year. I've grown Copra's forEVER and have never had them sprout before. I'm usually using the last few during the following years harvest. Oh well--I'll use em' until they get soft.

  9. Thanks Prairie Cat, I guess that most people just throw out the bones. When I see bones I think soup or stock!

    Erin, I felt like I was in the board room at a company where I used to work! I think that he would have me plant an entire acre of tomatoes if we could!

    Stoney Acres, Last year was a bad year for tomatoes here. I should have had at least twice the amount that I did. Oh well, hopefully this year will be better!

  10. Sue, Some of my onions are trying to sprout too. I went through them and chopped up a bunch and froze them so I wouldn't loose them. It was mostly my red onions. So, I am growing a better variety of red storage onions this year.

  11. We're definitely learning more and more about the fine art of storing veggies. I don't know if 100 jars of tomatoes will be enough for "the Italian". He is Italian after all!

  12. I love these updates - you give me food storage goals to aspire to. I borrowed your idea of having a Preserving page today, so I can track my own food production. Thanks for being a great role model! :)

  13. I made spahgetti with my own homemade sauce and homegrown herbs..cubin oregano,parsley and thyme so I guess I've earned my keep on this earth..:o).

  14. Robin, it is a good thing I had tomatoes left over from last year as it seems I use them every week and I soon need to make a batch of spaghetti sauce.

    I would have made stock out of the ham bone then used 8 quarts of the stock for the soup and the meat off the bone. Bet you could have gotten another 2 quarts of stock for the soup again. Would have just needed to throw a piece of sliced ham in while it was making the second batch of soup.

  15. I used my last potato before Christmas and my last carrot this past week! I'll be doubling my potato crop and probably tripleing my carrot crop for next year. I only have 2 heads of garlic left, but increased my fall planting to 100 cloves, so I should be okay for next year. I have adequate winter squash remaining.

    Herbs are good, both dried for cooking/tea, and herb freezer "ice cubes" that I used in soups and cooking. (Although I might run out of cilantro cubes for tacos/fajitas.) I only made jams, pickles/relish and canned peaches this year (I still have plenty of them), and I'm pretty sure my frozen veggie stores are holding up well. I had my 2nd year running where heirloom tomatoes didn't produce well for me, so I have hopes that F1 hybrids next season will do better.

    I experimented with the dehydrator this past season: tomatoes, zucchini, apples, and peaches. I learned a lot and hope to increase production. The apples are especially good in granola! I have to severely restrict snacking on dried apples or my kids would dessimate our supply. I could probaby increase by a factor of 8 or 10 next year, but probably won't due to time, unless I buy myself a boat load of new add-a-trays for birthday/Mother's Day. :)

    Lisa P

  16. Good mid season pantry evaluation! I do that periodically since we do not purchase veggies - once something runs out we do without until they are back available. I did not have near enough storage onions this year, but I knew that by mid July and so put plan B into effect, by planting a bunch of bunching and scallion onions. They in combination with the leeks we had growing have been our lifesaver. Not the same as a good onion bulb but good enough and better than doing without. Carrots were also really light for us this year due to a bad carrot fly infestation. We are currently going carrotless and but I have some baby carrots growing in containers in the unheated greenhouse. Hopefully they will give us something around April to use. We never have huge amounts of tomatoes put by as this region is not conducive to high tomato crop production, but I actually have a decent amount this year and we are not quite half way through the supply. We only have about five to six months to wait for the first of the tomatoes so this is quite manageable. The freezer supply is particularly good this year and I am likely going to have to make myself use up a lot of loose ends in late spring - but that is a good place to be rather than running low.

  17. that soup looks good and guess what I have the ingredients on hand!! thanks for hosting and sharing!

  18. Jody, There is a lot to learn. I have been thinking about converting our outside steps to the basement into a root cellar for years now. I really should get it done! I may have to ramp up my 100 jar goal a bit!

    You are very welcome Kristen, I'm happy to hear that I have inspired you!

    Ginny, I think you earned your keep a long time ago!

    Wilderness, I really should have made stock first. But, "The Italian" wanted his Split Pea Soup pronto!!

    Lisa, It sounds like you are getting your garden planning done. I really haven't done much dehydrating except for cherry tomatoes. I think that sounds like a great present for yourself!

    Laura, We really don't buy any veggies either except for mushrooms. I have a feeling that I will be buying a bunch or two of organic carrots though. I think that I'm going to bring in a couple of my big pots that I grow carrots in and get them started. This will guve us some much sooner.

    Your welcome MrsP, It's an easy recipe. I hope that you enjoy it!

  19. So impressive, Robin. Last year was so bad for potatoes here (Scotland) that we ran out by Christmas. Now I have figured out how to beat carrot root fly I will be growing a lot more. In fact I've only got leeks kale and swedes (rutabaga) left. As for the store cupboard - green tomato chutney, plum jam and marmalade is about the sum of it. As for your recipe, I found a supplier of peasemeal recently - its peas milled like grain in a watermill. I'll adapt your recipe to try it out.

  20. Wow that's a lot of canning! I just started canning last year, but it seems I have a long way to go. I canned two little jars of tomatoes last summer. You've inspired me to think about preserving for the winter months! I love checking out your Thursday Cupboard postings and usually have no pictures or exciting recipes to report, but I actually took pics this time. I hope to participate more often.

  21. Hi there Julie and thanks for joining in! I'll be giving you a lot of encouragement this year to can more! It's so much better then anything you can purchase!

  22. Julie, I was just over at your blog and Blogger won't let me post a comment :( Your soup sounds wonderful! I copied the recipe and am going to try that French Bread recipe.

  23. Robin,

    Okay, now you really have me looking like a probationary canner. I am going to have to kick it in gear when my veggies start producing this year.

    Love the soup recipe, thanks I must try it one day soon. Last night I made homemade chili with stew meat and pinto beans. We even had homemade cornbread. This went over extremely well since we had cold weather.

  24. I have never made split pea soup. I must do that one of these days because I know Dan will like it.

  25. Thanks Mal, I hope that you enjoy this recipe.

  26. I do like a split pea soup so I will have to try this. I'm glad you posted about the tomatoes as I've always wondered how many bottles I should do. We always run out so I've never really worked out how many I would need for a full year but I think I too would need about 100 - where on earth I'm going to put them I don't know. I don't grow nearly enough tomatoes as I dont have the space but my parents often have heaps over so hopefully they will provide.....

  27. WE started off with plenty of onions but many just haven't stored well - probably too damp after they we gathered as the dry weather turned wet at that time!

  28. Sandy, Our goal is not to purchase any or a very limited amount of veggies. It takes some time, but is worth it in the end.

    Chili is always a good meal on a cold day!

    Marcia, Give it a try. I'm sure you will like it too!

    Liz, If you can't grow or get enough tomatoes from your parents to can. Maybe you can purchase a couple of big baskets from a local farmer. We have a lot of organic farms around here. I was going to buy one big basket last year and changed my mind. I should have!

    Sue, Some of my onions haven't stored all that well. So I diced up a bunch and froze them. It probably was your weather. Who knows!

  29. I always mean to do inventory. I still have my clipboard downstairs next to the freezer. It hasn't been done though. I just don't feel like it so I don't do it. Sometimes I'm such a lazy person.

  30. Daphne, I have been too lazy to do the freezer inventory! I just haven't felt like moving everything to do it!


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