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Let The Canning Begin!

>30 June 2011
 
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It’s that time of year again! When produce flows in abundance, and canners all over scramble to get everything put up before it goes bad. So far I’ve been busy canning green beans and cucumbers from our garden. Berries are coming into season, so that will be next. I was telling Jada this morning how thankful I am that the Lord created things to come in at different times of the year. If everything matured at once, we’d never get it all up!

If you remember, this is only my second year canning. But let me tell you, last year, I canned EVERYTHING I could get my hands on! And I’m excited to be learning how to put up even more this year.

If you are new to canning and want to know more about how it’s done, you might be interested in checking out my pressure canning video on my sidebar. Maybe one day I’ll make one for the water bath canner too, as that’s a totally different (much simpler) process.

After doing a poll it looks like a lot of you guys would be interested in seeing a tally on my sidebar where I will list my canning progress for the year. It’ll be a good way to keep myself motivated as well. Kinda wish I’d done it last year. Keeping track of how much you can of each item will help you know how much your family uses in a year so you can be sure to can enough next time around.

My goal this year is to spend less, and grow more of what I can. I’m not really interested in beating some super canning record, I just wanna try to find ways to get my hands on produce without paying so much for it. Growing it myself, gleaning from other gardens, and bartering for goods are ways I plan on doing so.

And hopefully I won’t have as many canning flops as last year!

Do you keep track of your canning totals each year? Will this be your first year canning? I’d love to know how much you plan on putting up this year!

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28 Comments »

  • Amy said:

    I actually DO keep up with what I do per year. This is my biggest canning year ever – before I’ve dabbled in it but my goal is to replace nearly everything I would buy in the grocery with local sources – mostly things we grow ourselves.

    As I sit here updating my list to the background music of my pressure canner singing…..here’s where I am.

    9 quarts frozen chopped cabbage
    36 pints pickled beets
    9 pints sauerkraut
    1/2 bushel onions sliced, frozen
    18 pints sweet relish
    5 quarts chicken broth
    10 mangoes sliced frozen (ok, I didn’t grow but they were .50!)
    29 pints dill pickle slices
    2 gallon blueberries frozen
    14 pints blackberry jam
    11 quarts pickled jalepenos
    4 pints frozen blackberries
    12 pints canned blackberries
    9 quarts dill pickle spears
    9.5 pints banana split in a jar
    4 dozen ears of corn on the cob
    30 pints sweet corn, kernel style (in the canner now)

    Still have tomatoes, tomato sauce, pizza sauce, sloppy joe sauce, hot dog chili, peaches, green beans, pinto beans, green tomato relish, bbq sauce, pears, applesauce, apple pie filling……so much to do still!

    I also do some beef and chicken for the chance of power loss. We lost it for 6 days due to the tornados back in april and I didn’t have any canned meat left from last year and I sure missed it!

  • Lisa said:

    I would like to can and freeze more. i have my first real garden this year so hopefully I will be rolling in tomatoes and beans this year. I can’t seem to buy local to can and freeze though. The local produce here (Michigan)is so expensive. I would really like to know why I can get peaches, berries etc. cheaper at the store that was shipped across the country or from a different country than I can get it down the road right where it was grown. Does anyone else have this problem?

  • april said:

    So far this year I have made and canned blueberry jam and only one half pint of tomatoes. We have gotten over 100 tomatoes from our garden this year but my daughter eats them so qickly that I have not been able to steal any away for canning. Lol. I do make grape jelly from grape juice on a regular basis though. I am hoping I can get a good deal on tomatoes some time this year and just buy enough to can.

  • Amy @ Homestead Revival said:

    Wow! Beans already? We are having a sad season here indeed! I’m glad someone is getting produce! But God was gracious to bless me with a free cherry tree to pick yesterday – 23#!! If I had gone to a U-Pick place it would have cost nearly $69 for all that fruit!! So I saved big time. Tomorrow, I make jams and pies!!

  • Dana said:

    Amy, would you mind sharing your recipe for hot dog chili and apple pie filling?? Do you have a blog where you share your recipes??

    Kendra, I am with you on canning anything I can get my hands on!! I know this past year we used over 100 quarts of green beans, my kids LOVE them. Right now I have a lb of green beans planted in my garden, my grand dad has some planted in his garden and I am fixin to stop at the feed store to buy another lb to start a later row. With all of those I hope to have plenty to can, and can, and can.

    Our house is so small and it heats up quick making it very uncomfortable, but its all worth is come winter time and the snow is blowing and I don’t have to take my kids out in bad weather to get groceries!!

    Love all the posts!! Please keep them coming!!!
    Dana

  • Andrea said:

    I used to keep tally of how much I canned. Of course I used to keep tally of how much I grew too. Now I just keep a rough goal in mind and can until the produce is gone and/or all the jars are filled.

  • Mrs. D said:

    I don’t know how I have missed this video for so long. I also have a flat top and have been very leary of trying to can. Well, let’s face it, I’ve been using the flat top as an excuse to keep putting it off. If I don’t start canning this year shame, shame on me.

  • Mrs. D said:

    We do some canning but mostly freezing. There are several factors involved there, one, we don’t have the room in the camper to do much canning. We do some, I make pickles and we have put up tomatoes, both do not require the pressure canner which is just to bulky for the little gas stove. Then there is the meat birds. We need to freeze the meat… neither of us care for “canned meats”… and in order to keep the freezer as full as possible we fill the crevices with vegetables. Then there’s the time involved in canning… I work full time and Mr. D is quite busy with building and construction projects right now. He loves to can. As soon as we get the summer kitchen in and get settled for the winter, we’ll probably do some apples, beans, and whatever else the garden my produce this year.

    We keep track of how much the garden produces, but not so much how much food is in the freezer or canned up. As we use it and are getting low, I try to replace the supply. If we run out of one item through the year we try to plant a little more the next year. So far we haven’t run out of anything except pickles this year. Last year was such a good growing year for us except the cucumbers which were overgrown by squash. This year not so much, a little cool and a little dry and the plants, though they are growing, need a little more attention… watering, etc.

    Good to see you are getting some produce in. Hope it is a profitable year in the garden for you.

  • Sue said:

    The video was so helpful. I am in the market to buy a pressure canner. I am interested in getting it in stainless steel. I am concerned about using it for a cooker if it is made of aluminum. Are there any drawbacks with the stainless steel option?

    Thank you kindly,
    Sue

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Sue,

    Stainless steel is supposed to be much safer to cook with than aluminum. I’d go with the stainless if you can.

  • Shaye @ The Elliott Homestead said:

    Ah girl, I envy you! I’m still patiently waiting for cucumbers to make their appearance. So far, we’ve been able to pickle asaparagus, make strawberry jam, freeze kale and strawberries, harvest lettuce, and dry herbs. At least it’s a start! I can hardly wait for the intense canning to begin – does that make me a nerd? If so, I am in good company :) Hope you are doing well!

  • Patti said:

    Sorry, this isn’t related to canning but, I just received my Aug/Sept issue of Organic Gardening and pg. 68 is dedicated to Assassin bugs. It describes their mouthparts as knifelike, among other things. I know you already know that, unfortunately. Hope it will be your last encounter with them!

  • Heather said:

    Amy, I must know. What is banana split in a jar? Thanks, Heather

  • Lauren-Mae Cook said:

    This is my second year of canning, just like you guys!
    This year I am keeping track of everything I put up whether it be dried, canned, or frozen. I also have our beef recorded in there.

    Our growing season is probably behind you guys, our beans and peas are not quite ready yet. My pea plants are over a foot tall though! So excited!

    I bought a graph paper notebook, I record my yields in there. So when I use something I fill in the square with an X.

    So far I have put up-

    Strawberry Rhubarb jam (more like a sauce because I didn’t follow directions)
    Stewed Rhubarb
    Rhubarb jam
    Wild Violet Jelly
    Anise Seed & Wild Violet Jelly (my in-law’s really liked it!)
    Strawberry jam

    Frozen strawberries
    Frozen sour cherries

    Frozen Sweet & Purple Basil, and Chives

    I have some herbs hanging to dry in the kitchen- Chamomile, Winter Savory, Horehound, Sage, Spearmint, Lemon Thyme, Tarragon.

    At the end of this month there will be canning green beans, freezing peas, maybe some broccoli too.

    I’m looking forward to rejoicing over the abundance that the Lord gives us all!

  • Cheryl said:

    I too keep track of everything I can and freeze each year. I also weigh everything and keep a tally of that as well, by food, date and weight.
    At the end of the season I can kind of tally up how much in $$ my crops were worth. It’s amazing! I used the going rates at the grocery store.
    Our gardens are just now starting to produce, so my busy time is a few weeks off.
    Love everyone’s ideas.

  • Eleanor said:

    I was hoping to get my first session of canning in this past weekend by making blueberry-lime jam. But I spent time cleaning and organizing my food storage and washing my canning equipment. Cleaning out the food storage was useful as I learned that I should NOT can pickled green tomatoes or curried chutney.

  • Mike said:

    This is looking like a quiet year for us canning-wise. We typically can in the order of 85 to 200 jars a season of various broths, stocks, fruits and vegetables. Freezing is a separate matter altogether, as we have 68 cubic feet of freezer space to fill and much of that ends up as meat, with the balance usually being berries. With regards to canning, our biggest year in terms of varieties was about 12 years ago when we canned 736 jars over the season. We had a chart keeping track of what we had canned and each type of canned good had an alphabetic designation consisting of a single letter of the alphabet. When we ran out of single letter designations we went to double (AA, AB, etc). We finished the season at AAQ. It was insane. We were living in my one-bedroom apartment at the time. All of the Bernardin boxes of full jars took up an entire wall.

  • Britni @ Our Eventual Homestead said:

    My cucumbers seem to be jumping off the vine right now! I grew them last year but they were the wrong variety to make pickles. I think I’m going to try my hand at pickle-making this year.

    Does anyone have a good dill pickle recipe???

    Thanks!

  • Wendi said:

    I keep track of what I can so I can determine if I need to do more or less the next year. I am in Central Indiana and green beans are growing in abundance! Off of the first picking my mom and I canned 97 quarts!! Mom said in all of her years she has never seen a crop come in so heavy. It has been crazy that last three days.

  • Meg said:

    I just found your blog and I am so happy I did! I cant believe how much you canned! Great job! You Rock!

    I am going to try my hand at canning this year, but it will mostly be for Christmas items. I am picking my own fruits this year at local pick your own farms. Looking forward to giving jam/jelly as gifts for Christmas!

    Great job! I look forward to following!

  • Tammy said:

    The Lord has been good to us this year. I’ve formed a “co-op” with my family. My sister and 76 dad plant and harvest the garden and my 73 year old mother and I do the canning and preserving. So far this year, we’ve put up gallons and gallons of green beans, tried our hand at canning potatoes (which turned out well), made pickles, 4 different types of jams, and canned peaches. We’ve even dehydrated onions. Last week, we worked on apple sauce and vegetable soup. This week we’ll be starting on tomatoes.

    We were running out of jars, but I managed to pick up over a 100 off of Craig’s list for about $20. Our goal is to fill every one!

    Thank you for the idea of canning chicken broth. I’m going to have to try that!

  • Ron said:

    I would like to can chilli, but without a pressure caner. Can this be safely done?? If so how???

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Sorry to tell it to you Ron, but you cannot can chili safely without a pressure canner. You run the risk of introducing botulism to your food, which could kill you and your loved ones. Buy a pressure canner, it’ll be SO worth the investment! ;)

  • Debbie Bethers said:

    I have been canning for years now . My daughter wants to learn so this year so far we have done rasp.peach jam , Chili sauce,Italian stewed tomatoes, stewed tomatoes,Green beans, Freezer shredded zuchini,Green beans and raspberries and three berry jam and apricot pinapple and i still have two apple trees and a bunch of romas . I’ve tried to can every thing i can get my hands on this year my food storage is really starting to look awesome and my daughter thinks its pretty awesome. oh ya and hot peppers for all the son in laws.I’m so thankful for my mom or i would have never known how to can at all. Debbie

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Wow, Debbie! That’s AWESOME! Keep up the great work! Your family will be blessed for all your hard work.

  • Jaci said:

    I’ve never canned before but home to try my hand at it this yr….But i’m concerned I have a problem. We have the space for a garden but our ants and mosquitos are horrible (gulf coast texas) so while I want my food to be organic I need to spray my yard for the bugs. My oldest son has Down syndrome and doesnt understnad to leave the fireants alone….he got over 200 bites in Oct from playing in an ant bead for about 2 min before I could get him out. :( SO I just dont feel I can grow an organic garden and in my back yard and keep my son safe…so how do I find all this amazing produce without breaking the bank? We participate in an organic food co-op now to get most of our fruits and veggies but its no where near enought to can even if I got the large share. Any suggestions?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Jaci,

    Although I haven’t tried any of these methods myself, I found a website which lists tons of different natural ways to kill fire ants: http://www.grandmas-wisdom.com/killing-fire-ants.html

    If I were you, I’d attack those mounds with full vengeance (naturally, of course) and then set about getting that organic garden you’ve always wanted in place! Hope that helps!

    But if you’re looking for lots of cheap/free produce to can, start getting the word out and see if you can find anyone willing to let you glean from their garden leftovers and fruit trees. You might be surprised what you’ll be blessed with if you just ask!!

  • laurie christmas said:

    hi.Ican all year round.i just started canning meals in a jar for my trucker husband to take on the road!!so far i canned mexican chicken soup,chili con carni, white bean chicken chili,sweet and sour chicken,pork with apples and onions,beef stew,baked beans with hot dogs,bbq chicken wings,ham and bean stew, and pepper steak with peppersand onions, and puerto rican style kidney beans with potatoes and olives and spagetti with meat sauce. i have also started to make things from scratch like bread ,pie shells that i freeze and peanut butter and granola.no more store bought peanut butter for me!!cutting back on the chemicals and preservatives and unknown ingredients. also have a garden!! hoping to move to Vermont soon so i can get fruit trees going and some chickens and a large greenhouse

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