I’m still at it and thought you all might want to know how it is going. Keep in mind that I am doing how my grandmother has taught me, which likely isn’t FDA approved. I live life on the edge, though, with all my ferments and such(which also are not FDA approved.)
This is my learning year. I am trying to figure out how many pounds of tomatoes I need for how many quarts of juice, sauce, or whole tomatoes. Will a bushel of beans feed us for a month? How can I make jelly with honey instead of sugar? What is best left for the freezer? Most importantly, how to do this while still functioning in my home. Sure tomatoes need juiced, but there is still laundry to be done and meals to cook.
Here is my tally thus far:
- 12 quarts tomato juice
- 9 quarts seasoned tomato juice
- 4 quarts whole tomatoes
- 12 quarts green beans
- 12 pints pickled beets with onions
- 4 half-pints pepper jelly
- 6 pints zucchini relish
It will be interesting to see how long these last and what I use most of and what I still have a year from now. My guess is none of this will be here come spring. I go through a quart of tomato juice a week without even thinking about it. Green beans are a favorite around here, so those will be lucky to last until Christmas. If there were any one thing remaining, my bet would be on the zucchini relish. The twins and I like it, Liz hasn’t tried it yet, but I know she will like it. Being a condiment, though, I do not see us consuming large quantities of it. A hot dog slathered in it sounds so good, but I can’t find any decent hot dogs around here.
I still want to try to make some more jelly or jam with honey. I have Pomona’s Universal Pectin and had given it a try last year. It did turn out pretty decent, this year I am hoping it will turn out even better as I have some experience under my belt. I did use it for the pepper jelly and it turned out very nice. My goal for that is 6 half-pints each of two different berries. I am thinking strawberry jam and maybe grape jelly. Sourcing grapes is easy around here, strawberries in the fall…not so easy.
Applesauce will happen sometime soon. We have a huge apple tree and my mother-in-law also has apple trees. My husband’s aunt has pears and I am hoping to get some off of her to toss into my applesauce this year just for a different flavor. I also would like to try canning some peaches. I did one jar awhile back, but had my water boiling too hard when I put the jar in and crack. Nothing like glass infused peaches to make the family sick. Into the trash all that went, and boy were they nice peaches, too. Lots of learning curves to follow here.
I do still have 24 quart jars that I am itching to fill with something. I have space to store in the basement and feel like I ought to just do it while the produce is so affordable. Especially the green beans as I can get 10 lbs for $5 from the Amish. Same price on Roma tomatoes and those just beg to be made into a decent sauce.
At the end of it all I will give a final tally mainly for myself to track how long goods last. Then in the winter I can plan out our garden and get a better idea of what I need to plant so the only cost of canning next year is lids and elbow grease!