Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Delicious Excess

Once upon a time, I was easily overwhelmed. Not that I didn't absolutely LOVE receiving gifts of farm-fresh fruits and veggies from family and neighbors, but being someone who hates waste, it always stressed me out to have to reconfigure the week's meals in order to incorporate all the new food (on top of what I had already bought for the week) without any of it going bad. Eek!

Not any more. Between downscaling my purchases at the market each week (making gifted food a welcome supplement to our meals) and learning to preserve foods, I've finally found a beautiful balance.

So when the doorbell rang on Monday night and the two neighbor girls presented us with four enormous cucuzza squash (that's only two of them in the photo there), I was far from overwhelmed. In fact, the first thing out of my mouth was "Soup's on! It's time to can!" before sending them home with one of my jars of homemade blackberry jam, of course.

Pulling some goodies out of the pantry like pinto beans, corn, and salsa (all local), as well as making veggie broth from steamed local carrots, pulling some leftover okra and mushrooms from the fridge, and (of course) the four cucuzza squash; I was able to make two large pots of all-local vegetable soup. That's 13-1/2 quarts of soup (if anyone is countin jars, the half quart I ate for dinner...)!

Those soups will come in handy during a week when we're a little short on veggies. In the meantime, we've not let anything go to waste while keeping some sanity in the fridge. Excess never tasted so good!

How do you handle food excess? Have you preserved anything this summer?

P.S. A special THANKS to our generous neighbors!


Melanie said...

sadly, I've preserved nothing this summer and my freezer and pantry definitely show it. Last year, I did apple butter from a huuuuge bucket of apples that a friend from work picked for me. I gave her a quart for her trouble.

On an unrelated note, I appreciate the last couple of posts about preserving and simplicity. You've got such awesome insights into that, and I've missed those posts for the past couple of months:)

Heather @ SGF said...

Melanie - I'd be happy to do more posts on preserving and simplicity. Can you be more specific? Maybe tell me which posts you liked and what you liked about them?

Adrian Arroyos said...

We've also neglected the freezing and preserving this year. After losing most of what we had worked so hard to freeze last year due to Ike's aftermath (no power for 8 days), it was difficult to get past that mental hurdle and put in that effort again.

However, it gave us good reason to start our first veggie garden and share the harvest with friends and family - a definite plus.

But as you wrote, soup is a great fall-back food, and we do our best to keep some in the freezer at all times. Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Chile said...

Whenever I get surplus produce like that, I usually think food preservation first and incorporating it into meals second. I guess that's kind of backwards, but if I'm going to can something, I want to have plenty to work with. I don't mind freezing or drying in smaller quantities, but prefer the energy used to heat up the canner is used to its maximum potential (ie. full canner instead of just a jar or two).

"Have you preserved anything this summer?" *Hysterical laughter* Do you really want the list or do you just wanna go read my blog? ;-)

Heck, just this morning, I started two more batches of vinegar, another batch of liqueur, and froze some prickly pear fruit juice. LOL!

Heather @ SGF said...

Adrian - That's actually why I bought the pressure canner. I figured it was far more likely to have the power go out than an earthquake or floor take out my pantry. So far so good :)

If you guys are ever up this way, I'd be happy to host a canning party and teach you how!

Chile - You're a canning superwoman. I know all about your adventures. But for those of you readers who don't, check out Chile's post here. Woman, you put me to shame :)

I'm with you though. If I'm going to use the energy, the canner is going to be cram packed with jars. It took me 7 hours to do everything yesterday. Pshew! It was exhausting!

Lisa said...

Have you ever considerd a vacation in Maine? I love your blog, we may be of kinderd spirit. If you and yours would like to visit, we would put you up. (free) we too are living simple Lisa n

Heather @ SGF said...

Lisa - Cool. Thanks! If we're up that way, we'll be sure to get in touch with you. It's always good to meet others that are following our same path!