Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Using the Larder

The 1930s were a time of thrift--the Depression hit hard, and people learned to make do, and do away with the wasteful habits of the Edwardians and the time of the Roaring 20s. The apple peels became apple jelly, orange and other citrus peels were turned into candy (if you had enough sugar on hand), and scraps and leftover bones from a roast ended up as soup or stock--those are just a few examples. (And yes, I've done all of those things. Very useful).

I've got a pantry (pretty well crammed with pickles, relishes, chutneys, jellies, jams, marmalades, salsa, and a few other homemade things, as well as some canned and dried goods). I also have a small chest freezer--but not a larder. The house is 1929, not 1829. Still, the freezer stands in nicely for a larder. My fridge is tiny--a 1933 GE Monitor Top. It keeps foods fresh for a very long time, more successfully than any modern one I've owned. But the freezer can only be used if the fridge temperature as a whole is turned way up, so enter the chest freezer in the cellar.

The freezer is so useful, though...for freezing leftovers so that they can be eaten when the original meal is only a faint memory, for saving garden produce, sugared flowers, meat I bought on sale, and more.

It can also get away from you. Just before Christmas, I found myself throwing out my prized Friendly's Celebration [ice cream] Roll, the first I've had in 20 years at least, because there simply wasn't room for Christmas cookies, and I bake those in quantity.

In the last month or so I have been steadily beginning to work at using up the contents of the freezer. And that's freed up space for the lamb chili (made with the frozen ground lamb I bought a couple of weeks ago) and more useful frozen veg (peas, mixed corn/peas/carrots) and similar things. 

The lamb chili was great; I had it for dinner the day I made it, and the following day, for lunch. The rest is frozen. I had some homemade chicken pot pie that had been there for a while but was still excellent. Today I've made duck leg ragu (or ragout, if you prefer). Homemade duck stock, a duck leg and fresh veg: carrots, parsnips, and onion. I'll add frozen peas at the very end.

I've noticed some beach plums...which provide me with several options: beach plum gin, beach plum jam,  or beach plum chutney.

There's some lamb sausage still waiting for inspiration...possibly I'll make potato moussaka. There might even be a small chicken in there somewhere, in which case a real Sunday lunch (English style) might be coming my way soon, including Yorkshire pudding and lashings of gravy.

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