With the canning season approaching once again, it's the perfect time to take stock of what was consumed from the pantry over the last year and what remains. This gives insight into what things you actually eat more of and what you don't and from that you can determine what you should be growing and canning.
Last year, I pretty much dedicated my entire vegetable garden to tomatoes, knowing I use a lot of them in my cooking. I wanted to create enough of an inventory of tomato products to carry me through the year. What has surprised me is number of jars of pasta sauce that remain while my jars of diced tomatoes are all gone. I thought I would use both sauce and diced tomatoes in equal measure, judging by my cooking habits over the previous year. It appears I use more diced tomatoes than sauce, so this year I will adjust my canning accordingly and when the time comes, I will put up the majority of my tomatoes as diced.
Meanwhile, though, the rhubarb is bursting forth in all its glory, so I have been busy pulling it to try and keep it thinned out and hopefully allow more stalks room to thicken up. I realize that the crowns I moved earlier this spring really should be split apart but I had neither the time nor the space to do so this year and consequently the crowns are putting out many skinny stalks as opposed to fewer thicker ones, hence the frequent thinning.
I must admit, though, they do appear to be liking their new, sunnier location and I suspect the addition of compost and manure to their bed didn't hurt either. I stewed my first batch of rhubarb last weekend and had it over yogourt for breakfast. Heavenly! For now, though, I am freezing my trimmed and chopped rhubarb, collecting and saving it for the next few weeks until the Ontario strawberries are available and I'll be able to make Strawberry-Rhubarb stew and perhaps some Strawberry-Rhubarb jam (same basic recipe -- just more sugar in the jam than in the stew). Watch for an upcoming post and recipe!