Thursday, October 10, 2013

When I moved away from my farm life to become a finance executive I didn't think I would ever be canning again and promptly gave away all my canning implements to my sister. All my jars, lids and bands, cheesecloth, and 2 water bath canners were now in her very capable hands. I only kept (probably due to my subconscious revolting) one water bath canner and my trusty pressure canner. I am so very  glad I was wrong about where the Lord thought I belonged, although this year has been a year to start over, it has been a great journey so far. This year since I really did not plant a garden of my own, and I did not have an over abundance of produce. Starting over meant I did not have one jar of food preserved, nor one glass canning jar to do it in. And while I have been very fortunate to be able to glean from very generous people, I did not have the amounts needed to preserve the large amount of food I would need for my 5 person family in the year to come. This doesn't mean I did not take advantage of the opportunities I was given. I still took what I could and feel blessed to have what I do. I know that next year I will be power canning, tons of jars of green beans, tomatoes, and applesauce. I decided to do a lot of experimental canning while I am just canning a dozen or so jars of things at a time. In other words, I have canned several things I had not tried before. Things like dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, dried beans, homemade spaghetti sauce, and grape juice. I am just thrilled with the result so far. The two things I have put up that will be enough until next year are potatoes and onions. We live close enough to the growing fields of these two vegetables that we are able to glean in the fields after they have harvested them. Until I moved to this area the first time, I had never heard of such a thing.

But after the commercial digger and trucks come through and take what they want, (here at least) we are allowed to go through and "glean" or pick up what is left behind. Growers usually don't care as they are just going to disc them back into the dirt anyway. Now just in case you are thinking that we are getting the "leftovers" look again...

That is a wide mouth canning jar lid next to the onion and potatoes. As you can see we got really nice ones. Of course sometimes you have to look for them, and even go to a different field. But in the end we got about 650 lbs of potatoes and 500 lbs of onions. Some of those I gave away, and some will be saved for not just my little family but my mom and dad also. We are set for winter!
Here is a picture of my canning shed with the many bags of onions. We use gunny sacks for air flow. The canning shed is insulated so it should stay cold in the winter without freezing. This is my first year in this house so we will see. If potatoes and onions are allowed to freeze they will rot, also you can not keep them in plastic containers or they will sweat. The moisture then causes rot. I will be letting you know how they keep, and for how long. I might can some of the potatoes and freeze and dry some of the onions when the fresh food preservation is done and things slow down some. But for now, that is my post for today. Stop back by later for my post on canning dried beans and grape juice!

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