February: Taking Stock

Many people are compelled to clean out their closets, pantries and even attics right after the New Year. I’m always amazed to see the volumes of plastic containers on sale at Target and everywhere else at that time of year. Well, I’ve been procrastinating but now that much of the fresh produce from our fall CSA harvest has been consumed, it’s time once again to take stock and use up what’s left before it deteriorates. I looked at what I posted last February and – no surprise – I was counting my cabbages, roots and winter squash then too.

Tigress wrote a great post recently about being a “chatelaine,” the keeper of the castle whose stewardship over the foodstuffs is an important family role. I agree. This is especially true when you value quality food and have taken the time to grow it, seek it out and preserve it from spring through fall. So while I’m cleaning my refrigerator and inventorying the cellar, I’m also checking the pantry. Yikes, I canned a lot of stuff this year and luckily sent a few portable pantries to families and friends.  This will be a challenge. We accumulated some great, picturesque local dried beans and dried peppers from a fall trip to the San Francisco Farmers’ Market (I want to grow those next year). It’s important to remember that, just because grains and beans and spices are dried, they don’t last forever.  I regard them as seasonal, just like the canned tomatoes, the pickles, the herbed vinegar, the sauerkraut, and the confiture des vieux garçons.

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