This collection of cooking notes, in book form titled Sustenance For A Wild Woman, is all about eating closer to the earth with way less time spent preparing meals than we’ve learned to expect. To that end, I’m in favor of cooking once and eating thrice. That is, making plenty and storing it — but in a way that doesn’t necessarily mean eating the same thing every day until it’s gone.
Pour extra meals — or any pre-cooked components — boiling hot into clean canning jars. Immediately cover tightly and chill. In my experience, everything keeps at least two weeks, usually three. This applies equally to protein items that are immersed in liquid, as well as fruits and veggies. Broths without solids keep even longer.
Save resources by cooking up a few quarts of chic peas or other legume, to be ready as needed, works well this way too. Like a food piggy-bank, a few jars at a time put in the fridge on a cooking day quickly accrue into many choices for instant meals on non-cooking days.
Label and date the contents, then follow this protocol:
- Always keep them in a cold fridge, they are not really processed for long term preservation.
- When opening a full jar several days later, be sure the lid is sealed tight and there is a bit of vacuum swoosh when opened, as if it had really been canned.
- Smell — the food should smell and look like what it is. If it smells like nothing at all, then it will be bad in another day or two, so don’t eat it now. I have actually never had this happen with food conserved this way, but passing on the tip for your safety and peace of mind in any circumstance.
Tips for freezing in glass jars
In order to avoid using plastic to contain soft foods and liquids, I’ve found it’s fine to freeze in any recycled glass jar up to 16 oz. size. When filling, leave a generous inch of space at the top. Be sure the lid is screwed on tightly and then freeze the jars upside down. The contents can expand upward into the air space that is now at the glass end, and also flex the metal lid which is now on the bottom. Alternatively, with thick stews, cooked squash, or mushy beans, besides leaving an inch of headspace create an empty well down the center of the contents with a utensil and then freeze the jar upright. Expansion can move into that center well.
Another way to freeze very liquidy things in glass is in layers. Fill the jar only 25-30% full and freeze, upright, then repeat layering and freezing on top of what’s already frozen, until full. There won’t be enough expansion with that small an amount at one time to break the glass.
Laurie Goodhart and her husband co-founded and operated two certified organic artisanal goat fromageries, Nettle Meadow in Warrensburg, NY from 1990 to 2005 and Domaine De Courval in Waterville, Quebec from 2006 to 2017. She created and trademarked the multiple award-winning cheese, Kunik.
Goodhart lives in upstate New York and continues her work as a professional artist and avid gardener. Since 2007 she has devoted her studio time to an extensive suite of paintings and mixed media work titled, The Remnants And Residents Of A Lost Sanctuary Of Aphrodite. She describes the work as, “resonant totems for liminal times”.
Laurie can be reached through her art website, lauriegoodhart.com