If you've been following my blog for any time at all, you know I like to can. Not in the "If I could spend a day doing anything, I would can" type of way, but in the "I like to know where the food I feed my family is coming from" way. It's an effort to spend days putting up food, but it's worth it.
When I plan my garden - or in this year's case - my trip to the auction, I always go with an idea in mind of what I need to put up for the winter. Yes, it's fun to make pepper jelly and special relishes but that's not what's going to put food on the table all winter. The bulk of my canning is for food on the table purposes. Just a small portion goes to making all those weird but beautiful things you see in the Ball Blue Book.
Since auction day is coming up in a couple of weeks, I've already started my canning plan. There's nothing hard about making a plan. You simply figure out how many quarts of an item you use a week or month and plan to can that much or more. For example, if I use 1 quart of green beans a week, I plan to can 52 quarts to get me through until the next year. Now of course, you're always dependent on what your garden has produced or in my case, what is being brought to auction.
This is my canning plan at this point:
30 quarts of carrots
50 quarts of potatoes
20 quarts of applesauce
20 quarts of peaches
20 pints peach salsa
50 quarts of spaghetti sauce
20 pints of pizza sauce
25 quarts of sauce and peppers (like Oliverio's)
25 pints of peppers
20 quarts of salsa
20 pints of strawberry or tomato jelly (I may be too late for strawberry and believe it or not, you can make tomatoes taste like strawberry jelly by using jello)
10 pints of pepper jelly
I'll also plan on making a turn of vegetable sandwich spread from the ends of all the veggies. I was given that recipe and the tomato jelly recipe from a patient last year. One of the best benefits of working home health is getting to meet old farmer's wives who have great canning recipes.
If there's a great deal of green beans, squash or corn, I'll probably go ahead and can them as well, but I'm actually pretty well stocked with those right now.
Going with a plan will give me an idea of what I need to pick up at the auction. Of course, depending on prices, I may get more or less of what my plan is and that's OK. It's all about being flexible and working with what you can get.
What are you going to can this year?