Cache register

Nothing like two feet of snow to bring home to you that it’s winter. And, in winter, our food procurement efforts grind virtually to a halt. The eggs keep coming, but after that the pickings are slim. We can shellfish year-round, an unusually nice day might find us going after trout, and I keep hoping Kevin gets a hankering to go rabbit hunting, but that’s about it.

I figured this would be a good time to take inventory. We’re not technically snowed in; the truck is at the mouth of our 500-foot driveway, and we can hike up there and leave the premises any time we want. But the hike is enough to make you think twice about going anywhere, so we’re planning to make good use of our laid-in supplies.

Which got me wondering. I’m planning to continue the one-food-a-day challenge into next year, and winter is the toughest time. Last year, it was all shellfish, all the time, but this year I’ve got a few items socked away. Here’s what we’ve got to see us through to spring:

The canned goods:

2 12-ounce jars of the blackberry/anise jam Mary and I made from Dianne’s blackberries
1 12-ounce jar of Jane’s raspberry jam
1 12-ounce jar of Mary’s rhubarb jam
4 12-ounce jars of red pepper jelly (which dates back to our Manhattan life)

The frozen goods:
(“Bag” means a 1-quart Ziploc bag. It may or may not be completely full, but let’s not split hairs.)

5 bags parboiled butternut squash
8 small smoked bluefish fillets
2 bags diced roasted eggplant
2 bags parboiled beet greens
3 pounds Linda and Dan’s cranberries
9 bags Christl’s Sasquash (a bland, orange squash), diced
7 bags diced tomatoes
1 quart prickly pear juice
1 bag chopped jalapeno peppers
4 bags parboiled collard greens
1 bag sautéed painted suillus mushrooms
1 bag sautéed hen-of-the-wood mushrooms
4 dozen oysters
1 pound Dan’s Alaskan halibut
3 pints chopped clams
3 bags smoked trout
1 pint strawberry-rhubarb compote, from Christl’s rhubarb
1 quart crab stock
1 bag Dianne’s raspberries and blackberries
1 pint clam sauce
1 pint clam juice

The living goods (which may or may not still be living in a month or two):

Chives (no thyme)

The rest of the goods:

Sea salt
Bay leaves
A few dried jalapenos
¼ cup dried hot pepper flakes
Wintergreen extract
1 bucket Geri’s herring preserved in salt, awaiting pickling
2 gallons of dandelion wine (we want to let this age, but if things get dire…)

It’s not a bad list, but when you think about how long it has to last, it seems a bit anaemic. Other than the winter fare, we won’t have any new items until April, when the first of the wild green edibles come up.

Although I did manage to dig up a sassafras root before the snow came, so I’m ready to try that root beer again …

8 people are having a conversation about “Cache register

  1. If you are rabbit hunting alone (without a dog), make sure you stop and pause often along your hunt. This will unnerve the rabbit and get him to flush. Works on pheasants, quail, partridge, etc… as well.

    Awesome story you have here.

  2. CCD — Thanks for the hunting tip. We’ve heard that rabbit hunting without a dog is an uphill battle. (This from our plumber, Bob, who is a serious hunter and trains beagles specifically for rabbit hunting.) If we go out, we’ll try your method.

  3. Folks used to call February “hungry month”, because things tended to dwindle down in the root cellar by then. Your pickings do seem slim, indeed. Do you have a load of flour from which you can make pasta? Because that would stretch a lot of your canned and frozen goods…

    Don’t forget you don’t necessarily have to hunt rabbits- you can snare them as well.

    I have yet to even order my seeds for this next year (as well as build beds) and my bare root fruit and nut trees and cane fruits won’t be here until January, but I hope to join your challenge next year. Good luck with the cache!

  4. Paula — I should have been clearer. I didn’t mean to suggest that’s all we have to eat for the winter months. If it were, we’d emerge lean indeed! It’s only a list of things we procured ourselves. We supplement freely with trips to Stop&Shop.

    And that’s a good point about snaring rabbits. We have them on our property, so I should look into it.

  5. It sounds like your in better shape with supplies then you were last year when you challenged yourselves to the one food a day that your procured. I am glad you plan to continue on. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this blog, and would be saddened if it wasn’t going to continue on into the New Year.

  6. Anon — Thank you so very much for the kind words, and the encouragement to continue. You’re certainly right that we’re much better situated than we were last year. I hope you’ll stay with me through 2010.

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