An Insane Cooking Marathon with Free Food

I mentioned once, when I got so much free milk, that I love getting free food, but too much of it can stress me out, and this was no exception...
The other day they were giving out free past prime produce and nearly expiring rice milk, and because the weather was bad, nearly no one came, so there were huge amounts of food just sitting there, that would get thrown out, so despite having food in my house already (not a very full fridge, but full enough) I took home a cart full of groceries. After clearing off my counter, I unloaded all the groceries, and took this pic.
It was an insane amount of food.

A ton of radishes, a ton of carrots, a ton of clementines, a relatively large amount of red onions, 15 bottles of rice milk, a medium amount of beets, and a bag of sweet potatoes.
Which is awesome. But I didn't have room in my fridge for that.
I decided to put as much rice milk as I could in the freezer, leaving out 5 cartons of it that didn't fit. But that meant that I had no room left in the freezer for anything else.

I tried to come up with as many ideas as possible for so many carrots and oranges and radishes as I could that wouldn't be boring, and that, ideally would be either shelf stable or last a while in the fridge, and then had an insane cooking marathon to get it all done.

I still have a bit more to do, but here's what I made with all that (plus some stuff in my fridge that needed to be used up to make room for what I needed to put in):

5 jars of tomato salsa. Recipe for that coming very soon.
3 jars of sweet and sour pickled carrots, Asian style, with fennel seeds and ginger and hot pepper.
4 jars of  sweet and sour spiced pickled beets, with cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and cloves.
1 jar of sweet and sour pickled radishes.
And 6 jars of clementine marmalade.

That is a lot of jars to can, especially since bringing all the water in my water bath canner to a rolling boil takes a while. I used to only be able to can 5 jars at a time in my water bath, but thanks to a relatively new to me second hand canning pot, I was able to water bath all of that in just two batches.

I also made another jar of pickled carrots and pickled radishes for now, that isn't water bathed.

I made picado de rabano, a delicious Guatemalan radish salad, with the radishes and clementines.
I made a huge batch of Vietnamese style carrot and radish pickles with purple onions as well (recipe coming soon).
Beet salad with zaatar spice mix.
Roasted carrots with Cajun spice mix.
Sweet potato fries with sumac pepper spice mix.
Sumac and onion salad (recipe coming soon).
Purple cabbage coleslaw (usually I'd do it sweet and sour, but since I have a guest who isn't a fan of that, I'm making it the way she prefers, just with mayo and lemon and salt).
Morrocan carrot salad (like this one, but with lemon juice instead of lacto-fermented).
I tried this recipe for a carrot based dip which reminds me of Moroccan carrot salad as well, will share the recipe soon.

And I'm not even done yet... I still need to make a greens curry with some of that rice milk and garam masala and some nettles and dock leaves.
I was thinking of doing an orange creamsicle type sorbet, but without any room in the freezer, that's not an option, so I'm probably going to make an orange creamsicle type pudding.

This was insane, a ton of work- I spent more hours in the kitchen than I can count, but I didn't want to let that food go to waste, and nearly everything I made is either shelf stable or will last a while in the fridge, other than what we'll be eating over the next couple of days.

I still have a lot of carrots and radishes and clementines left, so I'm happy to hear of any more suggestions of what you'd do with all that. Ideas?
Done any crazy cooking marathons lately? What did you make?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Dehydrate the carrots for storage to use later in soups, or even make carrot chips :)

  2. Carrot chips. Great snack. Keeps pretty well.

  3. I suggest that in the future, don't bring home more than you can comfortably handle. Once you have it home, you feel guilty if you don't use it all.

  4. Have you ever stir fried radishes? I have had them a couple times. I just sliced them and fried them in butter. You may be dairy free, so coconut oil could work. The heat from cooking the radishes takes away all the bite that they have.

  5. I love cooking up sliced radishes in butter. Salt and pepper. Can be great on a sandwich or alone. :)

  6. Donate some of it to a local soup kitchen or shelter that can help feed the homeless or those in need.


  8. Wow! Kudos on that huge stockpile you preserved.

  9. Penny, I made a recipe of sauteed radishes with coriander seed and it turned out great. Toast the coriander seed first until fragrant, remove add a bit of oil and the cut up radishes. Sautee for a minute then add seed back in and cook until the radishes are knife tender. Salt to taste.

  10. Half cheap white vinegar, half water in a jar. Drop in cleaned, topped and tailed radishes. 3 days later, delicious picked radishes children love. Not peppery at all. Store in fridge.

  11. Can you candy the clemintines? make them into a sweet treat ?

  12. Get some greens and make salads for meals. I love bitter greens like kale mixed with clementines & other veggies and a vinaigrette. Roasted radishes & carrots as a side dish for a dinner. Or just eat as is.

  13. Carrot cake!

    Also, if you've got a tiny bit of space, freeze some of the them partially thawed and whizzed in the blender, and they taste a good deal like Italian sorbet. (Melons are good done this way, too.)

  14. A delicious pickled veggie salad

    Slice thinly 2 large carrots, 20 radishes, 1 onion and 1-2 jalapeño peppers (or any other hot pepper) and some ginger root. Place in jar.
    I made this marinade dressing which you can play around with: In a pot, heat 1/2 cup sugar with 1 cup vinegar (about 4.5% acidity) and half cup soy sauce. Once sugar dissolves, remove and cool. Pour into jar over the veggies and refrigerate. Delicious the next day.

    You can add bell pepper and cabbage too.

  15. You are so cool!!

  16. Hi there, I am new to your site, did the chicken rendering fat that you suggested, and btw, turned out beautifully! (We do pork and beef fat alot, but this was the first try at chicken fat rendering)....anywhooo... was a bit curious about the picture here as it shows that you canned the fruits and veggies but it doesn't look like you used canning jars or lids? Just curious...I have been canning for over 30 years and just wondering how you get the lids to seal so you don't have botulism... Thanks for your answer, and your blog is great! Good work!!

  17. I love radishes raw with salt! I have also put them in with a roast instead of potatoes (turned out ok.. sort of like cooked turnips). I also like to do french breakfast sandwhiches.. buttered bread with thin sliced radishes, salt and pepper... open faced... so wonderful and simple.

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