GROW: The Book
Over on Paul Wheaton's site I read a post that shocked me. If you use 4 jars of food you canned each day, you would need 1,460 jars of goods put up! Never thought of it that way.
Oh wow. I'm in trouble. I couldn't even buy that many cans!!
@dottile46 subscribe to his newsletter. Love all the little tidbits he comes up with. Very thought provoking and eye opening. Have a few of his dvd on building various things. Lots of info on his website.
Hi @dottile46 That is crazy! Where would all those cans be stored? That is amazing.
We planted our onion bed last year based on eating one or two onions a week. That's 104 onions. So we planted like 120 sets. It's a really neat way to plan the beds based on what we want and like to eat.
We did the asparagus this way too. All the perennial plants we add with these figures in mind.
@EarlKelly I love the permie.com site. So much good info too.
It is a staggering number, but that is really a lot of canned food to be eaten in a day. Granted, Paul is huge.... But, I doubt you'd use that many jars of veggies or pickles, jams, etc in a day unless you had a really big family or were sourcing your calories entirely from such foods. I reality, you'll probably eat some grains and/or beans, some meat or fish, eggs, dairy and some fresh veggies or stored root veggies... maybe some apples, pumpkins, cabbages, potatoes... maybe some kraut..... definitely some broth based soup. So, yeah, my grandmother canned a ton as the garden came in, and had a whole room for storage. But, she never used 4 jars a day to feed a family of 5. She'd bake biscuits or cornbread, cook some meat, always some beans and peas, rice and two-3 veggies (canned or fresh, or a combination) and always have leftovers. Rosie Hicks (wife of storyteller Ray Hicks) fed her family in an old cabin, on a small farm in the mountains of NC. They didn't have a refrigerator or freezer and jars could freeze and break, so canning was not the main food storage. They kept things cold in the spring house and dried a lot of food. When I make the distinction between prepping and resilience, that is what I mean. A prepper is generally someone who focuses on long term food storage. A resilient homesteader focuses more on continuous production of food on site and redundancy. Food storage is just an aspect, a way to extend the harvest and have some in reserve for emergencies. That is more my philosophy, gardening and livestock, foraging, hunting, fishing and trapping.... usually having fresh food, but storing up some in various ways for when the harvest is scarce.... salads and eggs part of the year, roasted or smoked meats and root veggies another part.... always grains, dried beans, salt cured meat/fat, onions, salt and spices and herbs on hand.
That's alot of work to can that much food. I enjoy canning, but not that much. I also think the 4 jar/day is not realistic. But just MHO.
I agree. My grandparents were much as Judson described, and were homesteaders in the true and original sense of the word. The gardens were huge, the fruit trees & berries were plentiful. He hunted & trapped. They had beef & dairy cattle & chickens. Canning was certainly done. They had a well, no springhouse (no springs available). The family had 8 kids and a tiny house, & hosted many hunters, neighbors and fed complete strangers at times. Their house was always open.
My grandma would never have canned that much food. Their dirt cellar, as large as it was under their tiny house, would have never held that much.
It is unrealistic to expect anyone to can that much, but an interesting number, to be sure. I think you could easily cut that number down to 1/2 - 1/3 of that amount.
Ditto on my grandparents' farm - the door was always open. Their home was like a community center where everyone brought their troubles. My grandmother cooked and cared for the sick. My grandfather made loans, found jobs for people and helped build their houses and barns... both assisted in much emergency veterinary care, child care and marriage counseling!
@judsoncarroll4 Yes! I think our grandparents would have fully understood each other. It is too bad that these days are past. 😔
May we be the vessels that bring this almost unconditional generosity & community back. I was so privileged to know them & have them in my history. People of great character. It is certainly missing in our modern world.
We could change so many lives if only we could pattern our lives after theirs.
Actually for a family, even a family of 4 it would not be that hard to use 4 jars a day, depending on the meals. As an example...1 jar of potatoes, 1 jar of carrots, 1 jar of meat (beef, pork, chicken, etc.) and 1 jar of broth just for a stew.
If you eat a lot of soups, stews or casseroles it would be easy to use that many. Or if you are feeding kids for lunch as well as a family dinner. If you make and can your own salsa, the family could eat a jar between them.
Just an idea of how they might have come up with those numbers.
@LaurieLovesLearning Now, I must tell the story of the only sane man in North Carolina! It seems there was a man from a rather well to do family, who married a woman who tired of him. He was a prominent citizen... a banker, if memory serves. But, he had a taste for the drink. One day, his wife had an idea that if she had him committed to an institution and declared unsound, she could divorce him, get all his property and most of his money and his substantial inheritance. So, she began fooling around with a local sheriff.... and one weekend when he was drunk, she had him arrested and committed!!!!!!!!!!!! He came to my grandfather in dire straights. My grandfather, who had a good bit of political influence, drove him up to the state capitol, met with a couple of state senators and the lieutenant governor and they went to the head doctor at the state's largest mental hospital. The man came home with a document stating that he was proven sane. To this day he is the only certified sane man in NC.
I do agree with the others that say 4 jars a day seems high. Sure you could eat that much but unless you were in dire straits why would you want to? I would prefer to eat fresh out of the garden when in season and store what is easy to store. If you grow onions, potatoes, certain squash, long storing apples among other things, you could use those long after the season ends. Save the canning for more perishable fruits and vegetables, meat etc. Use drying, curing, fermentation and freezing to round things out.
Can't imagine canning that much myself. I'd for sure have to quit my town job.
Well, then don't use that many jars then. 5-gallon food grade buckets with a gamma lid can store much more dry goods. And if you have a vac-sealer and a port on the gamma lids, you are well ahead of the game. Grow food, dehydrate to save space and keep things longer term.
Also, farm fresh eggs can be stored for up to 8 to 12 months, depending on your elevation and outdoor heat extremes.
Again, jars are just that, small and compact. Think bigger. Store more in less space. A stack of 5-gallon food grade buckets takes up less room than shelving for jars.
I do one thing -of canning, it is soup, my fav soup-so simple: In IP-instant pot, put abt 6 cups water or broth, large onion, much garlic, 2-3 sweet potatoes & 1 head cabbage; blend and add spices of smoked paprika, bit of cayenne, some dill seed or powder, 1 cup plant or nut milk, put in bottles! My grandma did grow up on a farm, in Ontario, but at 13 family moved to Lachine, near Montreal-there was a river, she went down to see it, a young boy fell in and was pulled downstream, screaming-I guess, and she ran home, when police came by asking abt witnesses, she said nothing-it was the shock of it all! I guess! All she managed was a small plot in her backyard-it is cemented over now! But that was enough to get my attention!
I like @judsoncarroll4 's comments/thoughts. I could certainly come up with a way to use 4 jars a day (with a family of 7), but it seems a rather large feat to put away 1500 jars when you think about all of the other foods you pair with the items canned. I'm putting away 80 meat chickens and have chicken and duck layers that supply food most of the year. Hunting and fishing throughout the year. And I'm reading Four Season Harvest right now and hoping to implement some year round growing this year!
it also depends on the size of the jars.. are you using two pints instead of 1 quart? Or half-pints?
I probably have that many jars, but keeping them rotated is sometimes the hard part!
I'm curious @vickeym: Why would you can potatoes and carrots? I just store them in a cool place, seems much less work.
@Iris_Brueck I don’t know about others, but I can my root veggies because my climate is cold and damp. I can keep my potatoes in a “dry” cellar with a fan on 24 hours but they begin to rot after 3 months. The fan is as far as I was willing to go, I suppose I could build an airtight climate control room, but that is above and beyond my budget! Canning is much easier.
I love to can and only have a 2 person household so 4 jars a day seems extravagant for me. But even if I pared that down to 1/2 at 750 jars, I’m exhausted thinking about it!! I think I max out at about 300 jars. Lol But then I don’t can any meat yet...so maybe........😁
We have a hard time finding a cool, dry place to store root vegetables as well. Canning is so much easier than throwing so many away. @herbantherapy hubby helps with canning and I once joked with him that I need a second husband to help with canning. Did not go over real well. lol
I’ve hunted deer and rabbit, canned grapes and strawberries, pickled cucumbers and candied apples, plucked grouse to skin, and cooked by campfire and on the range.
Brueck.iris I can those items for nights that I work late. Which happens frequently. When I need a quick meal it is handy to have the basically precooked food ready to combine and heat up. I know many families who leave very busy lives, often on unpredictable schedules and this helps them fix homemade meals for the family that can fit into their schedules.
Also, I live in Alaska and don't have a root cellar or any where that would keep things like that from freezing when we hit -20 or -30. Jars I can stash under the bed or where ever else I can find a little room. Enough fresh potatoes or carrots to feed my family for the winter... not as easy to find a place to store where they won't freeze or rot.
OH, I also live off grid and don't have the electricity to run a dehydrator for a day or two at a time for each type of food.