Preserving a years worth of food

So I began canning for the first time this year. I have been inspired by @Melissa Norris to preserve a years worth of food. What started out as me just wanting to learn the basics and maybe can up a year of one or two things has completely blown up!

I am now in week 5 of canning and I’m up to 185 jars of food. I have 4 kinds of pie filling, 8 types of jam, dessert sauces, green beans, bone broths, dried fruit, dried herbs, and fermented fruits. I will be getting into tomatoes and beans in the next couple of weeks and lots of pickling soon.

I have a deep freezer coming and a quarter cow reserved.

I have not been able to successfully grow enough food to put up but I’m supporting my local farmers and that feels really good.

I wake up early ready to can and I’m thinking about what else is possible through the day.

It is just my husband and I so we don’t need that much food but when I realized I would need at least 52 tomato plants to provide all our tomato needs for a year I was nearly discouraged from bothering with canning. I don’t have enough sun or space for that!!! But finding a local farmer and a master gardener who have greenhouses and are happy to trade tomatoes for 5 gallon planter pots was the biggest win!! I planted multiple trees last fall and this spring so I had the pots.

Canning is my new obsession. Do you preserve all the food you need to get your family through a year or just your family favorites?

oohh please tell me your family favorites! Growing up we all loved my aunts hot pickled cauliflower.


  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    @Ruth Ann Reyes what have you been canning this week? I canned Cherry pie, blackberry pie and Marion berry pie filling. I also made marionberry syrup. And today I started my first ever apple cider vinegar.

  • Jens the Beekeeper
    Jens the Beekeeper Posts: 643 admin

    @herbantherapy we are still eating from the jam we made in 2016 😂. Never bought a glass since than. We have strawberry, plum with red wine, cherry, black currant, gooseberry, some peach left, some quince, black raspberry.

    Some of these we grew some we traded some we bought from a local farmer.

    I would so much love to can a year's worth of food but with six of us it will just blow my storage capacity.

    I remember the cellar of my grandma. Filled with canned fruit and vegetable. I inherited some of year jars and the canner.

  • Gail H
    Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    @herbantherapy Wow! That is impressive. I do can, but I'm afraid my enthusiasm level is pretty low. I find that it turns into an all day project and I just don't get that many jars to show for my effort. Have you found some ways to streamline the process? Do you have a massive canner so that you can do more than 8 jars at a time? I often long for canning bees and such to make the work more efficient, but it sounds like you've accomplished a lot on your own.

    I do enjoy using Pomona's pectin and making jam. Last year I made a batch of wineberry/ gooseberry that was quite nice.

  • Paradox
    Paradox Posts: 187 ✭✭✭

    I have canned some peaches this year, but more has gone through the freeze dryer. @Jens , don't feel bad... we've still got jam made in 2010!! :)

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    @Gail H I typically do a lot of prep the night before with things like cherries that need to be pitted. I make sure I have all my jars washed and ready then I just need to heat them up while I’m making the actual recipe to can. Then while the jars are processing I clean up my mess and record what I did. I do wake up early so it’s not interrupted by daily stuff and it takes on average 2.5 hours.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,395 admin

    @herbantherapy Have you thought of a support group to assist with this new addiction you seem to have? :) That is a lot of food and you should be congratulated! Especially as a newcomer to canning! Actually, I think @Gail H's suggestion of a canning bee is an excellent one. A support group in more ways than one. It certainly makes for lighter work when you have a companion or two to chat with while you are cutting, peeling, grinding, boiling, etc.

    I do know what it can be like. I remember years of canning everything in sight and having a competition with a co-worker to see how much each of us could get done on our days off. I don't can much in the way of veggies any more; prefer them frozen. But I can and freeze quite a bit of fruit and make a lot of pickles, sauces, relishes and chutneys. A friend is getting a freeze dryer and I hope to be able to take advantage of that this year, although it may not arrive for a couple of months.

  • John
    John Posts: 163 ✭✭✭

    You are on a wonderful journey! Have been canning for decades, usually put up in excess of a hundred quarts. Getting ready to make some refrigerator pickles today so that will be the task for today. :)

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey it would be fun to have canning parties! Not in our current COVID state, but maybe another year. Though I find friends hard to come by. Many acquaintances but no one to really count on. A stark reality that hit home when the stay at home orders were put into place. So I thank God for an abundant garden and busy hands

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,395 admin

    @herbantherapy I am sorry to hear that you don't have anyone to count on. When we choose to live a slightly different lifestyle than the mainstream, it can be difficult to find like minded people. But be heartened! There are more and more people coming around to original medicines, natural products and a more sustainable lifestyles. Just look at how many people have joined TGN lately. Now you just need to find someone that lives close to you.

    Maybe there is some way to do a virtual canning bee? I'm not tech savvy enough to do it but maybe someone could help.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,203 ✭✭✭✭

    @herbantherapy I remember canning mint pears with green food coloring-my mom's idea. One year I saved green grapes when they went on sale and froze them. When peaches and pears were ripe I brought out the frozen grapes let them thaw slightly and included them with the peaches and pears in a fruit cocktail. I have and canned fruits in pineapple juice which is slightly sweet and it preserved the color nicely.