Not Keeping an Eye on the Prize(s)

February 10, 2010 at 9:54 am

Rob Gardner

As we have gone over many a-times, the Local Family sticks to its Eat Local diet during the winter by putting a large amount of food away.  There’s not too much to storing food once you’ve established good conditions–cold and damp, but a bit of vigilance is required too.  Certainly, the cliche about one bad apple spoiling the bunch is based totally on reality.  Good conditions or not, some keeper apples will go bad, and if they are not segregated from those around them, they will turn all their neighbors bad.  We keep our keeper apples in various bags.  This does minimize the damages.  In other words one bad apple can spoil the bunch, but only the bunch its with.  Yesterday, I got peckish after lunch and went rooting around for an apple.  Hunger made me realize what a lousy job I’ve been doing keeping an eye on the prized winter storage.  I segregated about 20 bad apples.

While I have been neglecting the root cellar in the sky, my wife has been doing a more admirable job using crappy food.  The other day she worked her way through yucky parts of onions to salvage useful onions.  Last night she finished off some squash and pumpkins that were going soft.  She really went winter on her meal last night.  Strata or savory bread pudding is a speciality of the Cook Book Addict, and she knows how to use stratas to their maximum effect on our stored foods.  She made three strata yesterday to finish off older foods.  Last night’s strata included chunks of squash and pumpkin found from within spoiling fruits, mustard greens from the freezer, mushrooms she tends to overbuy, and some of our latest prize, a smoked ham from Slagel Farm.  Dinner conversation revolved around the brilliant notion of opening a small strata shop in the Loop.  Let’s get some investors remarked savvy older daughter.

Rotten apples aside, we still have much food to use.  Updated inventory below.

Basement Storage

  • Winter Squash – acorn (3), carnival (2), spaghetti, pie pumpkin, butternut (2), red kuri (2), blue triamble (2), Australian butter, galeux d eysines, big ass orange – Update: used 1/2 red kuri in frittata, the rest of red kuri, pie pumpkin, 2 acorn in stata’s
  • Red onions – 25 lb bag, untouched + 3 or so loose  – Update: – dug into the 25 bag, working through the sprouted onions first
  • White onions – 6 or so, about 1 lb
  • Canned tomatoes – whole, sauce, puree – Update: used a can for pasta sauce
  • Spiced peaches
  • Peach chutney
  • Dried mushrooms
  • Misc. pickles, jams, jellies, relishes – Update: dropped an open jar of pepper relish
  • Dried beans
  • Local oats

Basement Fridge

  • Cauliflower
  • Leeks (5)
  • Daikon (5) – Update: now upstairs for easy lunch use
  • Red cabbage (3) – one very tired
  • White cabbage  – Update: Gone – Used some of the cabbage in a slaw and the rest in a wilted salad with ginger and dried cranberries
  • Kohlrabi (5) - 1 very large, 4 small
  • Cranberries – 4 1 lb packages
  • Turnips (15) – assorted
  • Carrots (30) – assorted -
  • Beauty heart radishes
  • 3 1 lb bags of assorted cultivated mushrooms – Update: used

Basement Freezer

  • Frozen fruits – blueberries, grapes, cherries, peaches
  • Frozen veg – peas, corn, greens, pureed squash, tomato puree, dried tomato
  • Local meat

Kitchen Fridge

  • Leek
  • Jalepenos (6) -
  • Daikon – Update: several now upstairs from basement
  • Parsley root (2)
  • Turnip
  • Homemade quince-apple membrillo
  • Local eggs
  • Carrots



  • Garlic (5)
  • Black walnuts
  • Dried fruits – strawberries, apricots, peaches


Root Cellar in the Sky

  • Apples – 25 lbs – Including Northern spy, red delicious, yellow delicious, winesap, honeycrisp, mutsu, gala, granny smith - Update: Eating some, throwing rotten ones away
  • Potatoes – 40 lbs – 20 lbs or russet or related, 5 lbs yukon gold, fingerlings, all-blue — no reds oddly enough -
  • Sweet potatoes – 1 lb
  • Rutabaga (8)
  • Turnips (15)
  • Beets (10) -
  • Carrots – 7 lbs – Update: Moved a bad downstairs to use for lunches
  • Chestnuts – 1 lb
  • Sunchokes - 8 lbs -
  • 25 lb of local corn meal
  • 5 lb local buckwheat

One Comment

  1. Robin Schirmer says:

    I’d love to contribute a Strata recipe….the one I used for the Winter Markets when we had brunches with the markets. Nearly all ingredients were locally sourced from the participating vendors. (FYI, stratas are very forgiving as to amounts of milk/cream, eggs, cheese, bread, a very flexible dish.)

    In addition to those basics, the key ingredients to my Strata are: sweet corn, breakfast sausage, and salsa. Even before I started working for Tomato Mountain or knew the difference among their salsas, I liked their Fire-Roasted Salsa (now called New Mexico Green Chile). It’s got a little heft and nice coloration. In my pre-local-food days, I used to do this with frozen storebought corn and Ro-Tel Tomatoes, but now it’s delish and I feel righteous, too.

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