I don’t know about you, but this summer I’ve been slacking quite a bit in the cooking department. Cereal for dinner? Why not. I’ve also had several variations on BLTs – with and without cheese, and gourmet bacon flavors from a local farmer.
But now that farmers markets are overflowing, and the chill of fall is in the air at night, my oven is starting to call to me. Alas, my pantry is woefully unprepared. The brown sugar is hard as a rock. How old is that bread flour, anyway?
To capitalize on this newfound energy I decided to make a list of things to stock up on and make ahead before the holiday season begins.
- check existing supplies of sweeteners, flours, and other items
- make ahead pie crusts and freeze them
- consider baking and freezing breads and muffins monthly
- check inventory of stock. Make and freeze or pressure can additional or purchase organic to have on hand.
- stock up on dried beans. Cook up extra and freeze or can.
- start a zip top baggie in the freezer for leftover meat/vegetable scraps to add to soups
- now is a good time to see if you can purchase a quarter or half cow or pig from your local farmer, or defrost the freezer and make room for any game such as deer or turkeys that might be coming from a hunter in your family
- be sure to have broth (see above), wine, bay leaves, and any other ingredients for your favorite pot roast recipe on hand
In addition, maybe this will be the year I actually start cooking meals ahead of time and freezing them. Here are some great resources for that:
30 Day Gourmet: Information and guidelines for freezing, tips & tricks and some great freezer recipes to try out.
Favorite Freezer Foods: Guide to freezing food, freezer cooking and meal planning with recipes, instructions and community.
Once a Month Cooking: Based on the books, includes tips and sample menu cycles.
Once a Month Mom: Helping you fill your freezer by creating monthly menus using seasonal recipes.
Once a Week Cooking: Because sometimes our freezers just aren’t that big
Rachel Ray’s Week in a Day: Caught an episode of this the other day, was pleasantly surprised to see it was mostly from scratch!
What do you do to prepare for the fall food season?