I must have done something right this year. I’ve been purchasing more canning jars and spending many late nights waiting for a canner to process. I started this spring purchasing some smaller jars for jam because I normally don’t can a lot since R is the only one that eats any of it. But with the influx of berries I decided to make jam. I remember telling R I was only going to purchase a few jars, but now it seems like I’ve spent a lot of money on them. With jars, you want to try to purchase new. I will thrift used jars to use as storage but I like to purchase new jars so I can keep track of how many canning rounds they’ve had before I retire them to spice duty.
This year I made pickles, salsa, chutney, jams, tomatoes, beans, corn, peaches, squash, pickled asparagus, pear butter, mustard, and I haven’t even made any apple or pumpkin projects yet. But there is so much pride in opening the door to where I stash our canned goods. I currently went from one location to three–another indication I’ve been canning more than ever.
Once I have apples and pumpkins processed, I plan to go through our entire inventory and tally how much of everything we have. I also have the prices of some starter plants (we grew a lot from seed but did purchase a few plants) as well as mason jar costs. So I am excited to see how well I did and how much money we are potentially saving.
I’ve got to say tho, it’s work. I have spent many beautiful summer days inside. For hours. Over a canner and a super hot stove. I would say I sacrificed, but I hate the summer heat. But sure, a tan would have been nice!
But I love canning. For me, it’s an internal competition. I want to see how much I can grow and preserve. I also learn a lot along the way and have to come up with creative ways to problem solve. Our garden is currently filled to the brim with green tomatoes. And a frost is due any time since most nights it gets to around 40 degrees. A person can only eat so many fried green tomatoes. So I will have to put my brain to the test. Who would want to waste so many pounds of tomatoes without giving an honest effort to save some?
I also found that every onion we grew I used during the canning process. Mostly to salsa and a few to some tomato sauce. But they didn’t make it far. So note for next time: plant a crazy amount of onions and far fewer jalapenos. I’ve also learned that we like our carrots frozen, not canned. And pickled onions just gather dust in the back of the pantry. Food waste is such an issue in our country, so I tend to make small batches of new things first to see how well they do.
I only made a few jars of mustard and peaches. Surely we will use the mustard but since R is the only one that will eat the peaches, I decided not to overwhelm him with a lot of jars.
For just two people, I think we will do well living out of our pantry this winter. Chili is the one thing R can make better than anyone I know so the tomatoes will go to great use!