Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Waste Not Want Not

Monday was officially the first day of Fall. Never mind that we don't have the types of trees locally with leaves that change color much (or at all).Forget that our first cooler weather already happened last week and by day's end on Monday we had already climbed back into the 90s. According to the calendar, we are now fully into Fall.I read in a couple of different blogs lately how folks were planning to take advantage of the move from summer to autumn to go through their pantry and spice shelves and pitch out anything that had been in there for more than 6 months. They were being honest, they figured if they hadn't used something in six months they weren't going to use it, and they wanted the space.

I do understand the rationale behind replacing herbs and spices every six months. I've read for years about how the flavor and quality diminish significantly past that time span. I've never been able to bring myself to pitch out anything that wasn't at least two years old though. And that I put in my compost pile.

I guess I don't like being told to throw things out. I know I am supposed to replace my toothbrush every three or four months as well. I don't always do that, either. When I do, I apparently have to hang on to the old toothbrush "just in case" I need a teensy scrub brush for those really small clean up jobs. Rest assured, if we have a series of tough to get up tiny spills around here I am ready. With backup.

Anyway, I have no intention of throwing away any of my spices or herbs just yet. On the contrary, yesterday and today I found myself filled with resolve to try to use up everything everywhere I could, in my spice cabinet, my pantry and in my refrigerator. Call it a gesture in honor of the turning of the seasons. Here's something more fun - let's call it a contest - The Pantry Challenge - Me versus Father Time. Using up everything I have on hand before it spoils proves I am a vastly superior human being and that I win. (What do I win? The contest between me and Fr. Time - pay attention and please try to keep up.)

Here's a quick inventory of what I have on hand to use up in the next week or so:
past ripe bananas
going soft organic Granny Smith apples
serrano peppers
Meyer Lemons
key limes
a bag of organic carrots trying to turn back into carrot plantsone ready to bake pie crust
remnants of a honey jar that is crystallizingI also have all this in the cabinets spice/herb wise. I can't reasonably use it all up in a week but I will try to use up whatever I can whenever I can. I will also (pinky swear) try really hard not to buy anything new until, say, Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is an exception, normality wise. Agreed?My plan? Roasted Eggplant Soup. Applesauce. Banana Bread. Savory Carrot Biscuits. Herbed honey. Apple Empanaditas. Roasted pepper mayonnaise.

That takes care of everything but the lemon and limes. Who will win the Pantry Challenge? Stay tuned...


Flapjacks said...

what about the asafoetida?

TexasDeb said...

How much do you have? Make a huge pot of pinto beans. Always handy. Or you could go here and check out the possibilities.

Flapjacks said...

i can give you some asafoetida the next time i see you at the store. i have a spare bottle up there.

TexasDeb said...

So you are saying I should put my asafoetida where my mouth is?

I'll trade you for some eggplant.