I have a fairly well stocked “pantry” . . . it’s not a pantry per se but shelves in the basement dedicated to food storage . . . close enough. It’s not as organized as I’d like . . . but that’s the way it goes.
The staples for my pantry are sugar, flour, white rice, honey, salt, dry pasta, dried/canned meat, coffee beans, dry beans, canned milk, water, vinegar, canned vegetables, and ramen noodles. We have other foodstuff on hand as well; canned pasta in sauce, canned chili, boxed macaroni and cheese . . . foods that I can make a quick meal out of. But the staples are the things my pantry is never without and for good reason. These items have a very long or forever shelf life. That’s right . . . I said forever. If stored in airtight containers and in cool, dark places they can last indefinitely.
ven the foods I keep on hand because they have a very long shelf life have expiration dates stamped on them. Why? They are often there to protect the manufacturer against lawsuits. Did you know that there is no set standard of regulations for the use of expiration dates?
A good rule of thumb is that if it’s moldy, smells bad, tastes funny, or you’re just not sure then don’t eat it.
Do not consume canned goods that are dented, bulging, rusty, leaky, that have broken seals, or that spurt when opened.
Take this information for what it’s worth . . . I’m not claiming to be an expert. However, I’m happy to say that I haven’t died or killed anyone with food poisoning.
Growing up I have fond memories of my mom canning fruits and vegetables. It was quite a production . . . sterilized jars, pots of boiling water, food in various stages of preparation.
One time when she was canning pears my stepfather arrived home from a fishing trip with his catch. He needed to clean the fish so he appropriated some counter space and the small rinse sink for the purpose. He scaled and gutted and filleted then packaged up the fish for the deep freezer.
Several months later when my mom opened up a can of those carefully canned pears she was shocked at what was staring up at her . . . a fish eyeball floating at the top of the pears. Ugh!
She went to the pantry and threw away everything she had canned on that date. Lord knows what other offal had managed to make its way into those jars.
Again I say . . . ugh!
Hot Pickled Cauliflower
- 1 Head Cauliflower
- 4 Jalapeños, Cut In Half Lengthwise
- 8 Cloves Garlic, Smashed
- 4 C. White Vinegar
- 3 Tbsp Pickling Spice
- 1 Tbsp Red Hot Pepper Flakes
Wash cauliflower, break into flowerets. Place in a pot of water. Bring to boil and simmer for 3 – 4 minutes. Drain and cool.
Bring vinegar to a boil. Add pickling spice and simmer for 5 minutes.
In the meantime add cauliflower, jalapeños, garlic and hot peppers flakes to pint jars.
Fill with boiling hot liquid. Seal. Refrigerate or process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes if storing on shelf. Makes 4 pints.
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