In order to be a bit cleverer in the way that I design my food storage systems, I decided to do a quick audit of what I eat. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s what I buy when I do my shopping at my local organic food shop.
Oats, oatmeal, honey, raisins, tea, apple rings (1), dried mango, other dried fruit (1), butter (3), yoghurt (N), cheese (3), pot barley, oat groats, flour, pine nuts, other nuts and seeds, sauces (e.g. teriyaki), jam and chutney (N), avocado, citrus, chocolate, sugar, meat, dried meat, fish, tinned fish, olive oil, salt, pepper, capers, olives, spices.
After I had done that, I went through and worked out what could be stored on a long(ish) term basis. I’ve made these things italic.
Then I went through and marked all of the things that I would have to buy because there was no feasible way of me producing them myself. These things are bold.
Then I went through the list and worked out what I could make now and marked these things with an (N). The things I can make now are yoghurt and jams and chutneys. I’ve done some yoghurt experiments which worked out pretty well but I have decided to shelve my yoghurt making as a regular thing because my house is so small that having a bowl full of milk hanging around all the time would just become a bit much I think. I’ll pick it up again when I move somewhere with more room to spread out.
Jams and chutneys I can most definitely do now, so I made a list of all the things that I need to do in order to do this easily
(1) Sort out proper storage for jars and lids
(2) Compile recipes
(3) Learn how to water bath can
The next thing I did was to go through my list and mark everything that I could achieve by the end of the year with a (1). The things I think I can achieve this year are making apple rings and other dried fruit. So the next action on my food storage action plan would be
(4) Build and learn to use a solar dehydrator
—————————–> This is what I hope to achieve in 2012 <——————————–
After this I marked everything that could feasibly be done with a bit more learning and infrastructure building (3). They were making butter and cheese. I’m not sure how useful it will be to make butter on a regular basis, but cheese-making is something that I am definitely interested in so I have decided to keep doing this ‘just for fun’ as a kind of slow-burning interest. Other slow-burners will include lactofermentation and brewing. I’ll probably stick to the timetable that I made for myself in the original design. Brighton Brewing Circle has kicked off (email me at bethtilston [at] googlemail [dot] com if you want to be added to the group) so there will be an impetus to do more and more brewing (plus, I am getting pretty obsessed with it). Maybe I need to set up something similar for preserving or, just for once, I could try to find a group that already exists!
In 2013, I want to move to the next level. I’ll spend this year observing what sauces etc I use regularly (tomato sauce, salsa, fruit compote) and I will learn to pressure can. I am a little worried about this one as pressure canning gone wrong can lead to botulism which, as I am sure you will understand, I don’t want to fuck around with.
When I have achieved these things I will consider this project complete, finished, done…