I have talked to friends that tell me that their freezers are pretty empty in the spring, and so they don’t need to do this much.. I have talked to other friends that don’t have clue what is even in their freezers, they only eat the top third that gets used and then replaced..
And then there are farmer friends that like me, run two or three freezers and slowly work to empty and shut down freezers as things get used up.. cleaning, leaving them open and wiped down with vinegar (me) or bleach them.
If you are on-grid a chest freezer is worth its weight, even a smaller apartment sized one will give you massive savings and with a pretty table cloth over it, can be used as a extra table, put baskets one it so that you just easily move the baskets and the cloth and now your useful top space allows easy access to your freezer.
Your freezer can be used as a ice chest if needed, I had a extra empty good size chest freezer that when I butcher in this spring heat, that I put pre-frozen blocks of ice or frozen 2 liter pop-bottles in and it keeps the meat chilled, giving me a very safe way to keep it at proper temps while I take a single quart or piece out to process, cut and wrap. If I had not had that choice, I would have had real problems keeping the beef or lamb meat cold enough till I can get it all done. Where there is a will, there is a way..
My big outside freezer is pretty empty, (or it was, its filling up now) but I had a good handle on what was in it.. its a meat only freezer, making and keeping things simple. When I do farm gate sales, they are placed in this freezer only, different freezer, different building.. Its just worth that extra step to keep farmgate meats away from personal use meats.
However because we have no plans at this time do any sales, we are using it for our own use right now. The house freezer had a full count done on it.. and there was some waste.. In fact I had “lost” about 8 full bags of green beans to freezer burn.. the pig loved them.. me not so much..
I also found bits and bob’s of this and that fruit.. all small amounts, and it will be used in the rhubarb fruit mixes.. (can you believe it, hubby is weeding the strawberry beds and the first red strawberry of the year came into day June 13th.. many, many more coming!)
I shook my head when I found 23 6 cup bags of frozen tomato sauce that needed to still be processed and canned up.. Yesterday I did a batch and today, the last of it is on the go..
All done now , they processed out in batches of 8 bags to make a pint finished per bag and they opened up enough room for 2 deboned, processed yearling sheep.. very nice indeed.
So if you have done it already.. time to pull everything out of your freezer or freezers, do a full count on what you have left so you have a true look at where you are at in regards to what you are coming into 2017 with..
If you have done it right, you will have a goodly amount.. and by that I mean that if suddenly this year you got nothing coming in, that you would have enough.. as a farmer, we need to always be planning for a failure year.. which means everything needs to be planned for a min of a two year plan.. Three is better.. but considering that most folks today only have enough for 3 weeks, I will pat you on the back if you have a year worth, if you are planning, working, planting, harvesting and working for a full 2 years.. then I am thrilled for you.. and if you have the basic’s for 3 years, with all the other things in the works.. then I am so giving you the gold star!
My pantry is next.. I know what I planted, I know what I want to put up.. now its time to get that fully updated canning and drying pantry counted out so I know just what I need, as harvests come in, I will be able to see if I need to buy or not to fill the gap or if I have more of something else that can fill that gap.
How is your planting going in your gardens? How is your pantry holding up? Do you have your lists? Have you done your counts..
Live example, we use two 12 pound buckets of local sour cherries to put up my cherry sauce, my cherry pie filling and my cherry jam..
A) all three of my cherry tree’s are looking great and its quite possible that I might have more cherries produced on the farm this year.. in which case.. awesome.. good to go..
But if not.. then I know that I need 22 pounds of cherries for my normal put up..
Here is the trick.. I have to do the pantry count.. because I like to keep a mine of two year stock up.. I need to do my jar counts to figure out.. do I need 22 pounds for a one year refill or do I need 44 pounds to make sure we have the full 2 year put up?
However if the tree’s produce 65 pounds, then I would be either a) putting up three years worth, or I will need to adjust something else to put up less of it. Its a Balancing act and its always in flux..