Thursday, October 31, 2013

Preserving Food and Sanity - Part Two

Continuing from yesterday...I asked my friend Regina (who has shared with us on this blog numerous other times) if she had any tips. 

Preserving Food and Sanity - Part Two 
By Regina

1.  Don't feel like you have to can to be a good  mom or Christian.  I have to remind myself at times because I can feel guilty when I don't can all that I could or think I should.  
2.  Be realistic. For example, I would love to can soups - but since the pregnancy sapped my energy, it was the first thing I let go that I did want to try this year.  Canned soup would be lovely to have on hand, but not like a necessity (although since doing my research and reading even more food labels, I'm starting to feel I need to can my own soups and cream soups- after reading all the yucky stuff in it.)  This could apply to other things like pickles and relishes etc. 
3.  Like Stephanie mentioned, I try to keep myself on a schedule so that I can things every other year.  For example, one year I like to do salsa.  Maybe the next I will try ketchup.  I used to do pizza sauce every other year but we have been using more since family growing so that isn't always working out.  Pickles are another every other year or every two year thing for me. Corn is something I do every other year - sometimes even every three years.
4.  I will freeze more green beans just because they are so easy to do and less time consuming compared with peas or lima beans- even though we like peas best.  I am trying to use the same principal and teach my family to eat more applesauce since I think it is the quickest fruit to can compared with peaches or pears.
5.  There is no way to really know when some produce will be ready.  I just know the orchard will always call on a Friday to tell me my three bushels of peaches are ready - or when we have major plans, the corn will be ready to pick.  Murphy's law seems to always come into play when it comes to produce!  I do try to control that a little by planting different varieties.  If you check the seed package, you read how many days to maturity.  So you could plant varieties that mature earlier or later - to give yourself breathing room.  Or if I know I will have peas to do late spring, I will plant my green beans later so they won't come over the same time as the peas, or I will plant green beans as early as possible so they are done before the August produce starts.  You could plant tomatoes late if you don't want to be putting them up in August when peaches and pears are ready etc.  I have a friend who freezes her tomatoes and doesn't make them into sauce until January!
6. If at all possible - purchase a good used refrigerator and keep in the garage.  It has been a tremendous help in keeping my produce for a day or two until I can put it up.   
7.  Read lots of good gardening magazines.  I have gotten good advice and tips that way.  I like Mother Earth News magazine.  Also, I have gotten lots of great advice from my neighbor who has gardened for years.  Sometimes the way mom always did it isn't always the best or the quickest!
8.  And to build on what Stephanie said - when I can produce, my house is neglected.  It just has to be.  And I don't feel bad, I know it will get cleaned later.  Suppers are quick, and may consist of what I was canning - tomato soup - spaghetti if I was making pizza sauce, or sweet corn if I was freezing corn.  My husband sometimes has ordered pizza when he knew I was canning all day.  If at all possible, can outside to keep the mess out of the kitchen. I have always used my victoria strainer for tomato juice and applesauce, outside.  We peel all our peaches and pears, cap strawberries or seed cherries out on the deck and do all sweet corn outside.  If it's rainy, then I put up the garage door and we peel or cream corn in the garage. It makes clean up so much easier. 

Thanks Regina, next I'll share a few of my own tips that haven't been mentioned yet!


  1. Yes, Regina, outside is great especially with apples/sauce. If I don't do it outside when I'm done canning inside I have another 1-2 hour cleanup at the end of a very busy day. We even used a wood fire to do squash and apples this year. It was a little difficult to get the steady heat, but finally figured it out and it worked very well.

  2. This series is really helpful! I began canning later in life, with no previous background or experience. I started just a couple of years ago, by joining a canning club. Then I began canning at home, and now that my kitchen is full of carrots and potatoes just waiting for the pressure can feel overwhelming. I work full time, in addition to a small family. I find myself asking "How do they do it??" Looking forward to the third installment. THANK you, ladies!

  3. I can see advantages to outdoor canning, but I prefer my kitchen. No yellow jackets or flies buzzing around, I have plenty of room, a great old 6 burner gas stove and being as it's a kitchen it is easy to clean, not difficult at all.


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