Wednesday, April 01, 2020

I’ve Been To the Grocery Store in a Pandemic but I’ve Never Been to Me
I’ll have plenty of opportunity for self discovery because I am not leaving the damn house again until this is over. I stocked up on produce that could be dried, canned, frozen, and pickled. I have flour, grains, frozen eggs, and my garden is already producing pea shoots. You couldn’t drag me out of here. That was more than a week ago,  and I’ve been keeping busy readying for a long period of time at home.
If you bought more eggs than you can use, freeze them! I always have whites in the freezer left over frozen making noodles, but whole eggs are useful too.
If you are new to canning, this is the book to get you started. You don’t need fancy equipment to peserve- some sort of rack for the bottom of the pot can be fashioned from tuna tins or even biscuit cutters. A jar lifter is nice but tongs work too. Your jars need enough room for 2 inches of water to cover them, so keep it in mind when choosing a pot. Can only high acid foods in a water bath canner- everything else requires a pressure canner.
Corn relish is easy to make and will be welcome on the table in the throes of a pandemic or in happier times. I tend to make it with some red cabbage if I have it for the extra colour. Honestly, just chuck whatever you want in there. Onions, bell peppers, celery, cucumber- it all adds a nice crunch. Generally you want 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water. Don’t skimp on the salt.  Use whatever vinegar you like as long as it is 5% acidity ( mot commercial vinegar is).
Don’t bin the cobs from the sweet corn! It makes excellent jam/ jelly to spread on toast. It tastes like honey.
Dandelion also makes good wine/ jelly and even battered and fried fritters. I have not tried dandelion head tempura but am told it works. The leaves are of course edible when young. I have been told the roots can be roasted and ground up to use like coffee. I have not tried it and would suggest reading up on it if you have any health issues that could be made worse by  a diuretic. You should always read up , generally speaking.
To make your fresh herbs last longer, remove them from the stems, plunge into cold water, then drain and dry thoroughly. Store in a tightly closed bagin the fridge. I don’t like zipper bags for this as they are too heavy. Inexpensive lightweight bags do a better job. You can rinse and reuse the bags several times. Don’t bin the stems! They’re wonderful in soup. Freezethem with your vegetable peelings ( carrot, celery, etc) and you’re set to make vegetable stock when needed. Herbs can also be frozen or dried for longer storage.
I hope this has given you some ideas for preserving what you have for future use. I will warn you though- dehydrated green beans and corn make a very attractive snack so put up extra because they tend to disappear when hungry people are looking for a little something to nibble.
See you later!


Beth Waltz said...

Very attractive, those jars of corn relish! Makes one wish there was a large spiral-sliced ham in the freezer...but no doubt the vegetarians among you have another combo in mind. I'm making an effort to prepare proper meals, rather than nibble my way through the day/pandemic; but it is sooo easy to slide along on bread, cheese, wine and V8.

That updo with the black lacy top is very elegant, Goody. You're setting a good example for those of us who might tend to let the side down. Now, while you're exploring opportunities for self discovery, have you uncovered any herbal remedies for concealing gray roots? Or will skunk stripes become the next fashion statement?

Polyester Princess said...

There's something very satisfying about preserving food, isn't there? I had no idea eggs could be frozen. That's a great idea! We are staying at home as much as possible. Jos still does a weekly shop and I still have to go to the office, if only for 2 days now. Still, I'm always glad to return to our little bubble, with the prospect of not having to leave for several days. Wishing you well on your journey of self-discovery and, above all, stay safe! xxx

Mim said...

That's impressive canning!

We rarely eat pickles and preserves - it's the sort of thing we'd have on a lunchtime sandwich, and we're not usually at home for lunch. So lockdown is giving us time to eat through lots of jars of chutney and sauce we've been given over the years.

Eggs and flour are now in short supply over here, but I think that's as much to do with the UK's 'just enough' supply system as much as overshopping; it doesn't have the elasticity to cope with a rise in demand for anything.

Bibi Maizoon said...

Wow! You've been busy!
That corn relish looks delish. I had no idea you could make jelly out of sweet corn cobs. I have the 2004 Ball Blue Book of canning. I use a paper towel-lined plastic airtight bin by Lock'nLock to keep my cilantro fresh in the fridge for longer (after destemming, rinsing & drying of course)
Looking very glam & chipper in your lacy black shirt.
I'm choosing to be completely unproductive for a few days as I went on a cleaning binge and ended up with a pinched nerve in my hip.
Carry on!

Vix said...

Looking gorgeous despite lockdown!
I had no idea you could freeze eggs so thank you for that! Great tip about the herbs, too.
I do bag up my cauliflower and broccoli stalks until I've got enough for soup in fact I think my bag is full so that could be a task for tomorrow!
That sweetcorn relish looks lovely, I've never eaten that!
Stay indoors and keep safe! xxx

Vronni's Style Meanderings said...

What a glamorous cook you are!

I love the look of the corn cob jelly - it even looks like honey!

You won't starve for sure, Goody!

bahnwärterin said...

did you know that they make the famous "birch sugar" out of corn cobs actually?!
canning and drying food is so rewarding - not only in pandemic times..... and one can save a penny or two because you can buy the veggies/fruit when they have season and are cheap. and of cause the produce of our gardens.....
stay sane and healthy - dear goody! xxxxx

Goody said...

I'm cooking a lot but for my own eating it is kind of pathetic-I'm living on tea and jam sandwiches. Last night I ate tinned beets with plain yoghurt. V-8 is MUCH better with a little vodka! Go on, I won't tell. No idea about touching up roots-I stopped colouring my hair when I was expecting and just never bothered again after Danny was born. I imagine we're going to see some interesting outgrowth my the time this is over.

I hope that will be helpful someday when you have surplus eggs. I'm also stocked up on dried egg replacer-it works well in baking. There's also dried egg whites people buy for cake decorating that can work in recipes needing a meringue. I don't envy you going out, or Jos doing the weekly shop. Hopefully this will all seem like a bad dream soon. Take care.

If you have an Indian grocer it might be possible to get other sorts of flour like chickpea, barley, or rice. You can make some nice breads/pancakes/etc. from them to bulk out a meal. Flaxseed can be ground up and mixed with water to make an egg replacement for cooking/baking.

We hardly grow anything here by way of produce so if Mexico cuts us off, the US is totally screwed for fresh produce.

I guess if you had to pinch a nerve being stuck at home is the best time to do it, but ouch! Hope you're feeling better soon. I thought about cleaning...but I'm going to learn from your example and skip it!

I'm tempted to just stay in until this is over. I think we could manage. We aren't on a full lockdown in Nebraska because we have so few people and much of the state is vast and rural. That said, I'm happy enough to sit this out as long as possible.

Thank you. No, we won't starve. When we were on the farm I learned to do big shopping for a month at a time (because it was an hour drive each way to a proper supermarket) and that taught me how to shop for the long term, and how to store what I had. It might not be the most exciting food, especially near the end of the supply when we're down to root veg and oddball grains like wild rice, but eh, food is food!

I had no idea! That is supposed to be good for one's teeth-there's loads of it in the dental rinse I use.
Learning to preserve food was the best skill I learned as a young married woman. Keeping house is good but being able to stock the pantry for an emergency is a real skill.
Stay safe and well!

Emily said...

I never knew that you could make jelly from corn cobs! I admire your kitchen wizardry and I hope to become just as creative in the coming weeks.

Have you heard of aquafaba? This is what I want to start experimenting with. Google has a treasure trove of websites that have recipes using aquafaba and now seems like a good time to start looking at them. I go through many cans of chickpeas and I have yet to do anything with the liquid, though I always intended to.

Goody said...

I haven't used the bean liquid for anything like meringues, but I often just chuck it into whatever I'm cooking for a bit of extra flavour. I understand any bean liquid would work, so navy beans, etc.

I'm not used to cooking three meals a day for the boys. Even when Danny was home, he wouldn't expect a hot lunch most days. I understand meals being about all there is to look forward to, so I'm trying to keep it interesting.

Señora Allnut said...

Such a fantastic job making preserves!, thanks for sharing your useful advice too.
Usually, my mom bring me her own preserves, tomate sauce and prune jam made of vegetables from my parent's orchard. I'm very grateful for this, as I know it's a hard job!.
It's very traditional to preserve some vegetables here. When Fall is coming, it smells to roasted peppers all around and there are lots of offers on glass jars. It's peppers season!.

Glad that you're keeping yourself safe!.

Goody said...

@Senora Allnut
Roasted red pepper spread is a big deal here too. I absolutely love it, and it is so nice to open a jar in the cold winter months.