Preserving summer’s bounty is an important part of a homesteading lifestyle. Canning is one of the ways we preserve our food. After toiling in the garden, the vision of jars lined on the pantry shelf are a sweet reward for the season’s work. Of course, we don’t grow everything we preserve, some of the bounty we put up comes from local farmers as well.
I had done some canning before meeting Philip, jellies, jams and canned salmon, but I wasn’t a fan of the canned fish, or the pressure canner for that matter.
We’ve canned a variety of products from venison, meatloaf, applesauce, jellies, broths, soups, and salsa. We use both the pressure canner and also waterbath canning depending on what we are preserving.
I’m hoping there is a 6 burner stove in my forever kitchen!
As with most tasks, we tackle them together!
Cooking the Apples to Preserve
Normally, I just cook the applesauce down until it reaches the chunky consistence that I like. This batch we ran through the food mill. The advantage is that you can reduce the apple prep, only cutting apples up, you don’t have to core and remove seeds (though I did for the most part). However the downside is that the applesauce is very smooth and we all like it chunky.
This batch of applesauce I have saved for baking, I also stretch the chucky applesauce we have by mixing in a partial jar of the smooth.
Peaches purchased from a local farmer were canned as well. A sweet treat on oatmeal or a peach crisp on a cold winter day.
We canned some of the turkey that we butchered, both as soup and potpie. While this method looks pretty before cooking, and its easier to prep, I prefer to cook my soup as normal and can afterwards.
I was disappointed at how the meat cooked in a clump in the bottom of the jar. Its edible, but part of enjoying food is presentation and this doesn’t make the cut.
Lesson Learned About Canning Corn
Corn is another product that we have learned that we prefer to freeze. You can image that freezer space is quite limited, so anything we can preserve using another method, we do, however corn looses that fresh from the garden taste that we prefer. Also the sugar in sweet corn browns as it’s pressure canned and looses that visual appeal.
Philip always feels like anything we can learn now, when we don’t depend on the garden as a food source is part of the process. For the two of us, quart jars in most products, is too much.
I think all gardeners have to make pickles as part of preserving summer’s bounty!
Canned meatloaf was a product I tried.
I wanted to make Philip something that he could fix easily at home.
Hundreds of jars line our pantry shelves, some we eat as fast as we can, others we consider lessons. All represent our hard work and time together. Here’s a glimpse of our 2019 garden and how it grew.
About the Author: Barbra-Sue Kowalski grew up on a small hobby farm. She was always drawn to farm life, however, she was stuck in an urban life far from her roots. Barbra-Sue was a single mom for 13 years, raising her 3 children on her own. She met Philip in 2018 and they married in 2021. Between the two of them, they have 5 grown children and 4 grandchildren. These empty nesters are following their dreams! As they both turn 50, they are building their off-grid homestead to live the life that they dream about. Learn more about Philip and Barbra-Sue here. Contact them here. To leave a comment on this post, please scroll down.