When you grow and raise a lot of food, one of the tricks to making it pay is managing the inventory. That means record keeping, not always my favorite thing but necessary if I am going to avoid waste.
Last month we harvested our garlic and it was phenomenal. I harvested 15o heads. That might seem like a lot but we are garlic lovers and I need enough to eat and to save for seed for next year. The biggest bulbs were pulled out immediately. The temptation is to eat those but that would leave me inferior seed. I put those heads away to plant in this month, and dry the rest to use throughout the year.
Last year my garlic sprouted very early. By February I had no more fresh garlic and needed to rely on store-bought. This year I wanted to be sure I was covered so I spent most of yesterday converting about 1/3 of my garlic into powder.
I peeled all of the cloves using a trick my son taught me. Separate the cloves (there is no need to be fussy about it) and put them in a stainless steel bowl. Cover with another bowl the same size and bang then up and down for about twenty seconds. The garlic will be perfectly peeled and any leftover skins just slip right off.
I then used a manual onion chopper to chop up the cloves and left them in the dehydrator overnight.
Once crispy dry, I pulverized the chopped cloves into powder. I store the majority in a glass jar with a desiccant packet and an oxygen absorber although that’s probably overkill. When my fresh garlic runs out I’ll have this lovely fresh tasting powder to fall back on.
I do something similar with extra tomatoes and onions. Dried and pulverized, both make great additions to soups and stews and prevent a lot of kitchen waste.
Every homemaker needs a kitchen notebook to keep track of what’s on hand and make a plan to use it up. Keep track of what works for your family in terms of meals and ingredients. And as time goes on, you can track consumption, what you pay for produce at the farmer’s market or the grocery when you have to buy things. It’s the first step to planning your next garden, or deciding what backyard critter you should get next.
You need to know what you run out of and what inevitably feeds the pigs and chickens. Of course, that’s not really waste here, as it comes back to us as bacon and eggs. Not a bad trade-off when you think of it.