Friday, August 21, 2015

You Plan To Eat All That?

     To answer the many questions and commentary of our friends and family (and the rest of you who are probably thinking the same things followed by the words "nuts," "crazy," and "scary") who saw my canning posts on Facebook over the course of the last few months.  No we are not preparing for nuclear fire to rain down... nor are we stocking a fallout shelter... planning to go completely off the grid... prepping for the zombie apocalypse... or any other apocalypse for that matter!  YES, we do plan to eat our canning.  

     What provoked this blog post is the photos leading up to this one... 

     You are currently looking at 720 jars of canned goods (amounting to a little over 85 gallons worth of food), which doesn't even happen to be all of them for the entire upcoming season, just the ones we have done.  It's called food and yes, a lot of it, and yes we understand you think we're nuts (as you've let us know this time and time again under no uncertain terms over the last few years).  So today, I'm simply here to say we plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner a little differently than you, and that our food store will not go to waste.

     Think of it this way... How many pizzas do you eat every year (remember not only to count Saturday night, but birthday parties, poker nights and every sporting event imaginable)?  We currently only have 15 jars of pizza sauce which means (unless we run out and buy a pizza), we can only have 15 pizzas in the next twelve months.  Having said this, more pizza sauce is planned to be canned, so we're adding to that 720 jar count.   There's just 29 jars of spaghetti sauce, or otherwise known as about two spaghetti-based meals a month for the next year.  Applesauce, peaches and pineapples?  There's 93 jars of them.  That means we don't even have two quarts for every week, and we often go through 3 or more of them when packing the Mr.'s daily lunches.  In essence, we are not only buying "a week's worth of groceries" like many of you might, but we're shopping for the whole year, which is why we have 720 jars of canned goods and you all think we're nuts. 

Having a second deep freeze is an amazing feeling for me
     What you haven't been seeing in between these canning sessions is the deep freezes starting to fill with garden produce and the dry goods shelves and root vegetable bins also being stocked up.  (This is probably good because I'm not sure I want to know what is above  "nuts," "crazy," and "scary" in your vocabulary.)  What each and every one of you is also probably forgetting, is that we don't want to buy (and hope not to buy) fresh produce during the winter when produce prices are so high as they're being imported from further and further away.  Although we are contemplating about adding a low tunnel or small greenhouse to the garden to extend our growing season, for now we have to rely on the shelves and current season.  We'd like to store our own garden's produce for our use over winter instead of running to the store.  In February, I can't run out to the garden for an onion, but hopefully I can go downstairs to our bins for one instead of hand-shoveling the driveway, letting the car warm up, skidding down the driveway on a sheet of ice because keeping the driveway ice free is a rarity, and then heading down the road through the snow and slush to the grocery store.  

     "But what about the ridiculous amount of jams you have?"  You protest.  

Mixed berry and strawberry jams from earlier this year
     Sigh.  For those of you who have been following along in previous months you can probably surmise by this point, we do have a bit of jams, jellies and butters built up.  So, yes our 187 jars of jams, jellies and butters are sitting downstairs among the rest of the canned goods.  But, while you see 187 jars of jams, jellies and butters that we'll never use in the next decade let alone year, I see peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, homemade cereal bars, and Christmas gifts.  No.  We will not eat all of these jams, jellies and butters this year, but I like to try and stock up for about two years at one time when doing them.  It saves me time, and although others will protest, I really think they taste just as good the second or third year as the first.  (To each their own.) 

     "What are those?"  You point, wrinkling your nose.  (I don't question your uncertainty as this is a scene that I have made before as well to my great grandmother's 40-year-old chow chow that she still thought was good and tasted fine.  For this very reason I am still holding strong to my pledge of not only never making chow chow, but never eating the vinegary mini-produce.  That smells lingers with you for a long, long time.)  Instead of chow chow, however, you happen to be looking at my chicken, turkey and vegetable stocks that will be turned into soups, stews and stuffings.  Yes, the jars of cream-to-brown liquids may not look the prettiest, but sometimes food tastes a lot better than it looks!  

     Before you bother with your next protest, as I've noticed you working on the next one as I answered your last, I'd like to interject with a quick story.  I once read Betty Groff Cookbook: Pennsylvania German Recipes that my mother had gotten for me.  In the book the story is relayed that Lancaster County, Pennsylvania native Betty Groff was entertaining some Amish neighbors for dinner and had invited them to see her shelves packed with vibrantly colored canned goods as she was "keeping the tradition" of canning. Afterwards her Amish neighbor had remarked at Betty’s cupboards of canned goods: “For you, this may be a tradition, but for us it is survival.” And, although you will assuredly come up with another protest, I stand by the words of Betty Groff's Amish neighbor.

     So, although most of you still think we are "nuts," "crazy," and "scary," when I go downstairs to get my apple pie filling for Thanksgiving dinner and your rushing around trying to figure out what you're going to make when the grocery stores are closed because someone who was bringing dessert cancelled last minute, remember... we're all a little nuts in our own special way.  


  1. Nice to 'meet' you. Your post is being passed around on facebook. It made me chuckle, as I've gotten the same reaction from people when I post canning photos. I never managed to word a reply so eloquently though.

    1. Thank you very much! :) After a three-day barrage of commentary stating we were "nuts," "crazy," and "scary" from family and friends, I thought it was about high time for me to address "the situation."

  2. I dont think it's nuts at all. When I grew up on the farm my mother we used to can 3 years of a crop at a time, plus we would freeze corn. We would do green beans one year, then tomatoes and tomato juice and salsa, and then jams and jellies. We would also grow fresh produce that we ate throughout the year and shared with friends and family. This allowed us to use companion planting and practice crop rotation in our garden. You've done a wonderful job. Ellen (yes, the one you know) and I will be canning pizza sauce, strawberries, and a few other things next year, so we'll be toiling right there with you!

    1. I really love being able to can multiple years worth at one time. It certainly gives me a break every now and then. Glad to know that I have some company! :)

  3. I would love to see you add all your canned goods recipes to your post or at least the links to them. My younger part of my childhood was spent on a farm where my mom and aunts canned everything for the up coming year. They shared in the bounty of the crops and raised all our own meats for smoking and freezing. We moved away when I was 8 so I didn't get to partake in that process like my older sisters. Now I am learning by trial and error.

    1. I'll certainly keep that in mind for future posts. Presently I only have two listed on the blog (others might be able to be found on my Facebook page).

      Sweet Pickle Relish -

      And, Turkey Stock -