4 Moms on Food Preservation

I’m running ever so late today, and I’m not even going to apologize.  Last night we moved into our new house!  The move was what some might consider a disaster, or would have been if not for our friends who worked tirelessly and never said a word about how woefully unprepared we were.  I knew we were rushing it a bit, but I thought I was in labor, and I thought we were 90% packed and could throw the rest of our belongings in boxes as we went.  As it turned out…well, maybe I’ll just make it part 6 in my househunting series.  That’s not what you came to read this morning anyway, is it?

You came to learn about how we big-family moms preserve food.  By that, we don’t mean distracting the kids with promises of great fun as soon as mealtime is over, just so they’ll hurry up and eat less – although I have noticed that it would work, if we wanted it to.  The downside to that plan is they’re all begging to eat again in 30 minutes.  You saved nothing on your food bill and lost some sanity in the process.

Food preservation is, of course, about saving food for later so we can take advantage of great deals and larger quantities than we would normally use at once.  There are many other reasons, but that is what motivates me.

I have to confess, I haven’t done a whole lot of gardening and canning, though I have dabbled a bit over the years.  On the whole, I have found that it’s not necessarily a big money saver to buy and preserve fresh produce, though you often have a much better product in the end.  It’s also not often a good return on your time, unless you are doing it for fun and quality rather than a dollars/hour return on your time.  Much like knitting and sewing, you can often buy a finished product more cheaply than you can make it – but doing it yourself carries other benefits.

We did, however, buy a pressure canner not too long ago, and used it to can our own beans, meat bought on sale, apple pie filling, pizza sauce, and a few other items bought or prepared in large quantities at deeply discounted prices.  There was a bit of a learning curve and I started out almost afraid of my pressure canner (who hasn’t heard horror stories of explosions in the kitchen?) but it turned out to be very simple – easier than water bath canning, I think.  If you’ve ever done water-bath canning or even thought about it, I highly recommend a pressure canner!

What methods of food preservation have you used in the past?  What have you thought about trying in the future?

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  1. I would love to try my hand at pressure canning. Pre Y2k I did a big batch of chicken with a friend but I haven’t tried it since.
    We live on 5 bountiful acres, this year I have frozen several batches of pumpkin and zuchinni, made grape juice and gathered almonds. Right now I am trying to process olives. With so much produce, it is hard to see it go to waste, so I keep trying to learn how to use it, although much of the time I would rather be reading aloud to my kids or tidying up my laundry room.
    Thanks for continuing to educate.

  2. Oh, and I have to write one more thought: we, too, live out away from everything and it has REALLY become a burden to us in terms of gas and the associated expenses involved in just getting back and forth to where we need to go. My husband drives more miles each way than what Perry was driving, and between his gas costs and mine, it has become a huge issue in our lives. I know EXACTLY what you mean about having to consider/say no to things because of the cost of gas invovlved. I have reached my limit of living in a small, rural town area where nothing is available, and we are looking to move, too. It’s a big deal to relocate a big family, but your househunting series has given me hope that it can be done! I seriously am excited for you, and would love to see some photos of your new place! Blessings!

  3. Yeah, yeah…we’ll talk about the food later! I want more details on the house and the move!! Pictures and details, please!! And you KNOW the baby will show up in the nest few days in the midst of all this chaos! 🙂 Congratulations!

  4. Marybeth Taylor says:

    Kim C., your life is so exciting to follow. I can empathize in particular with the anticipation of waiting for labor to start, being due in less than 48 hrs now myself. Regarding the gender surprise issue, we don’t know boy/girl and there is a huge sense of anticipation. We’ve always kept it a surprise (this being the 4th); it’s so much fun, and I feel I do depend on the mystery to motivate me through childbirth. I think I would relate with your feelings very much, were I to know what we were in store to have.

    The Lord has clearly ordained that you all would move in when you did, fully prepared or not. I am sure it will give you just that much extra time to set up your bed, get the refrigerator stocked and the kitchen functional, get the home operating to a point where it won’t be a place of total mayhem when you do go into real labor, and bring a baby forth into the world and that space in particular. May God bless you with His strength, and peace, as you have your baby. Meanwhile, we eagerly await the continuing back story on your home purchase as well as a baby announcement!

  5. No baby, rats….I was expecting a great update!!! :~D lol

  6. Been there, thinking “things are pretty much ready”!! Yeah, right.
    Sorry but I tuned in today to see if
    1) you had the baby
    2) part 5 of the house story is posted
    Isn’t it fun to know your life is so interesting?

    • Part 5 goes live tomorrow morning. I’m thinking the move itself will be good for at least one more. I don’t want to forget the details. Otherwise I won’t be able to laugh about it someday!

  7. Your first paragraph made me laugh (sympathetically) as I’ve moved enough to know *exactly* what that ‘we’re-almost-done-this-will-go-fast’ last part is like. I’ve sat in a nearly empty house, late at night, cleaning and emptying newly found closets and cabinets into a car, in tears and wanting to throw away everything I was finding.

  8. I have a food dehydrator and use it more than canning. Eventually I will do more of that too but not until our house is built and I have a separate kitchen for large scale prep work like canning and lots of things growing on our land. This may be a several years off. I really prefer freezing and dehydrating to canning. They are much simpler and less time consuming. If you have a good deep freezer berries can be stored for several years in plastic containers (I use the large ones we have left from buying yogurt or cottage cheese). Blueberries are great because you don’t even wash them just put them in the containers and freeze. You rinse them when you use them. They are much cheaper to pick yourself (here they are about $12/gallons) than to buy at the store and they keep for a long time. Next time I’m going to try dehydrating them. I’ve been told if you do it after freezing first they give you a better product.

  9. I planted a two in one apple tree this year and I am hoping in years to come I will have such a surplus off apples that I will need to can them:D Hopefully as apple pie filling, but we shall see, this first year of course no apples at all, next year? I am guess apple will be few, maybe some to eat fresh off the tree, after that, well I can dream of apple surplus right?

  10. Who can ignore the fact that you’ve just moved into your new home?!?! Sheer willpower bades me stay on topic. We bought a food dehydrater this year. That has been great for apples, peaches, tomatoes, and a few other things. Anything can be dehydrated so the possibilities are endless. The children and I spent most of the last five months out of the house all day and would come home to…wahla!…dehydrated food. Works for me!

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