Lent 3: Use the damn jam

Randomly throughout the year, I create to-do lists for myself. OK, yes, randomly might mean daily. And by daily I might mean more than one, on different media. One thing that’s been sticking around for a while (and yes a while might mean at least twice as long as the longest crowd-sourced definition of “A while”) is to clean up my pantry and preserve/pickle shelves. My gentleman associate and I did a poor job last week of cooking at home, and in my continuing effort to actually sit myself down and create a meal plan, I decided that if I had a go-to list of low-effort, low-time commitment things we could make, we might have better success. Maybe.
So, I organized the pantry. Part of that meant looking at the things to see if they were still good anymore, but part of it meant looking at the things I’d made in years past that didn’t go over as well as I’d hoped. Mushroom ketchup seemed like a good idea – something savoury to mix into meatballs or spaghetti sauce. But there are still 8 little jars of it down there of the 12 jar yield. And I made it at least 10 years ago. Maybe it’s time to just cut bait on the mushroom ketchup. So with the “Are we actually going to eat this/Can I think of something to make, theorietically in the next few weeks that will use this” criteria of keep or toss, I went to work. I’ve done this before, kind of. That time the keep/toss line was delineated by “Should”. I should find something to do with this. This time it was “Will I actually go to the trouble of finding something to do with this” or “Did I like this enough to actually DO the things”
It takes a bit to let go of the nagging guilt that’s associated with the fact that it’s wasteful to just get rid of something, and I went to the effort to make this with my own hands. But the longer things stay, unused, on a shelf, the more questionable they’re going to be – both from a safety and a quality perspective. So I’ve got a few dozen jars that I’ll be emptying into the green bin, and then I can focus on the things that are left.
That’s a different to-do list. Sometimes using out is hard, too. Is it worth me just eating a jar of cherries in syrup because hockey is on and there’s ice cream in the freezer. Heck yeah it is. The whole point of preserving is to enjoy the things you make – both the process of making them, and then getting to have them later, when kumquats or apricots or tomatoes aren’t fresh and/or local.
This Lent, may I consider the value of the things I continue to drag along because of some misguided sense of duty. May I consider how the things I do today will either benefit or cause grief for future-me.

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