Saturday, November 6, 2010

Preserving the Harvest - 2010

I've been hesitating to write this post. Several of you have asked to see a list of the garden preserving I've done this year - as well as where I store it.

I love visiting my shelves of jars or poking my head in the freezer just to enjoy the bounty that God provided. After a very dry summer, I am surprised at how much we were able to put away this winter.

But I don't want to sprout some sort of super-woman cape. I know how easy it is to read a blog and feel inadequate. I know - because I do it far too often.

I'm not sure why we ladies fall into the comparison trap. While it may be okay to learn from each other, to be challenged in our calling as homemakers, so often I've become discouraged by feeling I don't measure up to what another is accomplishing. I have to constantly remind myself that my calling is to serve my family and husband, in my way with my set of gifts, talents, and skills. Gardening is my thing - couponing might be yours.

So, I'm going to share the stats on our harvest this year - but please don't add "garden, can, and freeze food just like Gina" to your list of things to do next year!

And there is no way I could do this all alone. Ed helps me so much in the garden and yard. I don't even know how to run the tiller or lawn mower. He does all the tilling and mulching and most of the planting and weeding. Most weeks this summer, we spent at least one evening working together in the garden.

Plus, for most of the summer, one of my sisters came and helped me for a day each week. Believe me, I planned my major canning days for the days I knew they would be here! Working together while gabbing made the day fly by quickly and (almost) effortlessly. One of the things I missed the most when I married was working together with my sisters and mom. Many hands really do make the work light. My daughter is learning to help and I'm looking forward to having her assistance in future years.

So, if you promise not to compare AND remember I had help, here is the 2010 list.

peas - 58 pint
asparagus - 3 bags
broccoli- 9 bags
green beans - 28 bags
corn - 29 pint
tomato sauce-22 pint
canned tomatoes-10 pint
tomato juice-25 pint
pizza sauce-62 pint
salsa - 10 pint
ketchup-10 pint
vegetable soup-27 quart
chicken soup-17 quart

All vegetables were grown in our garden except 1 bushel of peas bought from a neighbor and the corn which came from my parents. A "bag" is a meal's worth - somewhere between a pint and a quart.

strawberries - picked 68 quart, froze 60 pint
strawberry glaze-13 pint
strawberry lemonade-8 quart
fruit slush-11 quart
blueberries-20 pint
pears-17 quart
peaches-50 quart
apple chutney-6 pint
applesauce-124 quart
apple cider- 20 quart

All fruit was purchased except the strawberries.

And for a tour of the basement... watch your step, I don't usually allow visitors down here. There is no telling what you may find! First, my two favorite closets in the whole house. They are right at the bottom of the basement step, handy to the kitchen. I don't know what the original owner used them for, but they are perfect for canning jars. With the doors shut, they stay reasonably dust free.
 It was difficult to get a picture since the lighting was terrible. The shelves continue past the sliding doors so you can't see all the contents. The shelves are sturdy but I do sometimes worry that they will collapse under the weight someday. I can't even imagine the horror!
The freezer, stuffed with blueberries, strawberries, peas and beans.

 Next the shelf with apple cider on top and applesauce below.

Thanks for visiting. Just don't trip over the children's bikes on the way back upstairs.


  1. That is awesome..thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing what you have put up this year. I enjoy watching the canning shelves fill up. I don't put up as much now with just the two of us. Would you share your pizza sauce recipe?

  3. Gina,
    I really loved your post. Thank you SO MUCH for your humble spirit. So often I come away from reading these posts depressed and feeling defensive that I don't garden or can, but you made me feel happy for you without feeling bad for me.
    Congratulations on your hard work. I know your family will enjoy your efforts this winter.

  4. nothing wasted, everything homegrown and everything preserved, your family are so blessed to have you and we are blessed that you share your life with us, many thanks Jane

  5. We moved from WI to TX 3 1/2 years ago. I had a 1/2 acre garden in WI and loved, loved to can. I brought 1000 FULL jars to TX when we moved here. The movers quit counting after that! I have made some jam and my parents brought 2 bushels of green beans from WI last year when they came to visit, so I got 55 qts. I, too, love to look at my canning shelves and know that we can eat off the bounty!

  6. Beautiful site. So colorful. I can tell you don't live close to me in So California. All those jars on the rack would be on the floor in a mess after our little 4.6 earthquake the other day. We have to but support band up about 1/2 way up each shelf. Great job.

  7. That was an inspiring post! Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. Gina, I know it is wrong to be prideful, but when I look at what I have "put up" from the harvest I can't help but have pride in what I see. Pride that "Our Father" has allowed us a bountiful harvest.
    And always thankful that God has given me the skills to prepare. I know you feel the same way. So wonderful and your post are always so precious.
    Debbie in East TN

  9. Wow. You've been busy! I just finished doing 33 qt. applesauce (two days, three weeks apart!). You did 124 qt. How much applesauce do you all eat in a year??

    I really appreciate your disclaimer - about not comparing ourselves with each other.

  10. WOW! I think that is amazing. May I ask how big your "growing" yard is?

  11. Very inspirational! I don't can much with just two of us.

    A small tip to strengthen your shelves. Nail a 1x2 across the front edge and it helps to lessen the shelves ability to bow from the weight.

  12. Great post! I have to admit, I read a lot of blogs and wonder, how do they get it all done? I think it's wonderful that you thanked your husband and sisters for all their help. Canning is new to me, so it's neat to see what a well stocked pantry looks like.

  13. Thanks for sharing this. I wish I was able to do half this much, but I don't feel inadequate because I don't. I feel inspired!

    Good for you!

  14. Good Job on all your canning!!

    I too find pride in full canning shelves, this year was an off year for us but hopefully next year will be different.

  15. Totally AWESOME!!! Gina!
    I loved taking a peek into your closets!! I love canning.It's such an accomplishment to know your family will be taking care of well over the long winter! Congrats on a job well done!!
    Do you have your pizza sauce posted??

  16. Job well done. It is always a huge effort to put away enough food for the winter. You with dryness, us too much rain. I have to say I enjoy peeking into your freezer. First I am envious of your upright model but like how you have everything is small containers rather then bags.

    Thank you so much for sharing this. If anything you give us a great ideas.


  17. Holy Wow Wow Wow!!!
    So Jealous. I know I shouldn't covet - but I kind of do. Wow and more wow. love this post. I think I will print it off and add it to my dream garden list. I can't wait until I get my system down to preserve like you! And your freezer is amazing. Wow!! i live on opposite coasts from you, otherwise I would come up for a visit and check this out for myself and taste some of your delicious food!!! Great job!! Seriously, you should really give yourself a pat on the back.

  18. Oh quick comment and question - First - comment: I know you have a humble heart and spirit so know that my previous comment was made to congratulate you for your hard work and that I'm proud, not jealous in that I wish I could be you. I know if I had a husband who helped and sisters, I could probably get the same things done. I'm proud I can get done what I do with all my children running around and doing it by myself. Which leads me to my question: What do you do with your children on your preserving days? A few times things would go bad or things didn't get canned in time because I had to tend to my young children. How do you do it with all of them around? I know you have young children.

  19. To those who asked about the pizza sauce recipe - you can find it in the recipe tab at the top of the page. You'll find it under "preserving". Or just hit the link on the word "pizza sauce" in the post.


  20. Naptime Seamstress -

    We love applesauce (maybe that is obvious) Ed likes to take it in his lunch EVERY DAY! He never gets tired of it. The children could easily eat a jar a day too. So I have to ration the applesauce, even with doing this amount!

    Jeanie -
    I should measure it sometime. I really have no idea. We live on almost three acres but much of that is rocky and hilly and not possible to garden.


  21. Shannon -
    Good question! And one I've really struggled with! This year was easier since I didn't have a baby I had to sit down and feed every three hours. Last year I just tried to enjoy the opportunity to sit down and rest but it made a little job stretch out to all day!

    If my sisters are here, we can take turns helping the children. I try to think of fun things they can do like play dough that will keep them near by but not underfoot. Sometimes my frustration level gets so high I just have to put my veggies in the fridge and sit down on the couch for some reading and cuddle time. Children are much more important then canning. Often if I give them some individual attention, they will be happier to go off and play alone for a while.


  22. wow, I loved looking at the pictures. You did great. YOu might want to consider supporting the center of each shelf though, it looks like they are sagging. I would hate to see one break!

  23. Oh my goodness!! That is food storage heaven for me!!
    Tell me, when you open one to use, do you use the jar in the fridge or do you decant it into something smaller/plastic (for the kids to lift)?

    Thanks for sharing this - loved it!

  24. Gina,
    A thought about involving the children. I grew up on a farm and one of my very earliest, and happiest, memories is of watching my mother grind pork into sausage. The funny thing is that in this memory I was so young and little that I had to look way up to see the edge of the counter.
    I'm sure your children will be blessed with many similar memories.

  25. Great Job! Isn't it a wonderful feeling having all that set aside for later use.

    I heard this thought somewhere and I was going to post about it tonight too!.... "We always compare out faults to others strengths. As women we should embrace our own strengths and use them for good."

    No idea where I heard it but I thought it was so true!

  26. Mmm! That makes me hungry just looking at the pictures! Cory once said, "I wish I could LIVE here, so I could eat all this food!" about my mil's canned goods room.
    I didn't grow up doing ANY of this stuff, so it's all new to me. I'm so grateful for a mil, sil's, and a HUSBAND who is willing to teach me. And yes, working together makes it so much better! Honestly, I would never attempt it on my own. Derek is sooo sweet and encouraging and appreciative about any and all efforts I make gardening and canning and freezing... He makes it worth the work! I'm attempting my very own garden (SMALL-scale!) this spring, so we'll see how that goes. My kids are excited about it!

  27. I am so happy for you. We have had a very bountiful harvest also. If I were to be envious it would be for the storage space you have and the accessibility of your canned goods. One reason we freeze so many items is that living in a camper we have no warm place to store canned foods. Everything would freeze.

    I'm not quite finished putting up food. We still have beets which I dug last weekend, but they are on the porch, so I don't think they will freeze this week. If it gets much colder though we'll need to bring them in.

    What a wonderful harvest and we are truly rejoicing with you.

  28. Gina,

    So inspirational, thank you for sharing! This year's garden was a dismal failure for me ( my first attempt at something more than a
    4x4 plot) but nothing ventured, nothing gained. I hope (and pray!) next year's will be much better. Maybe you could do a Gardening 101 sort of series to help us newbies? :)

  29. Lovely post.
    My bounty is sort of scattered in my scary basement, so I content myself with looking over my preserving notebook :)

    I appreciate your humble spirit and the recognition that gifts are different and comparisons are generally bad.

  30. and I noticed the comments about children and preserving:
    when I was little, I remember many times sitting and talking with my mother and grandmother while they chopped and washed and canned. I try to involve my children with husking or sorting or washing.

    Another key, for me, is to have easy food prepared already. Everyone gets grouchy when they're hungry and I need precious time for canning that day, not meal prep!

  31. Thank you for sharing. Seeing your pictures just brought back a really sweet memory. My grandfather built the house that my mother grew up in. He made a special cupboard to hold my grandmothers preserves. As a child I used to sneak away and open the cupboard and just stare at bounty and colours [I even appreciated food at that age!]. My grandmother passed away this year, but I still have an unopened jar of preserves in my cupboard with her writing on it. I can't bring myself to open it!

  32. So exciting to see young mothers using their talents to serve their family. I enjoy reading of your joyful mothering.

  33. What beautiful shelves! I love to see rows of jars. You weren't kidding about putting up a lot of applesauce, wow!


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