Canning, Drying, Freezing- Oh My!

There’s no satisfaction quite like putting food by, especially food you’ve grown. Simply opening cupboards filled with gleaming Mason jars is a visual feast. This year the pleasure of planting, harvesting, and preserving food is tempered by concern about the winter to come. Experts say the upcoming months may be “dire” due to rampant Covid-19 cases. We’re already mourning those we’ve lost. I can’t imagine more illness and death…

I’m glad the garden calls. I still have the last tomatoes, beans, potatoes, and tomatillos to harvest. Chard, kale, leeks, sunchokes, and other cold-hardy vegetables can be brought in as needed for the next few months. Nearly everything else is finally preserved as November waves from the distance. 

The largest number of our jars are filled with tomato products including marinara, stewed tomatoes, and barbeque sauce. We also make lots of salsa.

I laughed at the size of this pot when my husband brought it home years ago, but now we have several huge pots that are all used when we can.

My favorites to can are fruit, especially jam. Peach jam looks like sunrise in a jar.

We cook food down inside, but process jars outside. We’re very fortunate one of our sons (find him here) built this awesome brew stand, which also works as an outdoor canning miracle keeping heat and steam out of the house.

The dehydrator has also been busy. I’m particularly fond of dried tomato slices, which I crumble into soups and casseroles all winter long. I also dried summer squash, an abundance of carrots, and some peppers. Lots of dried fruit too, including gummy fruits made from zucchini.

Plus lacto-fermented goodies like these peppers, destined for hot sauce

and this pickled vegetable mélange.

Cupboards and freezers stocked, we hope for the absolute best this winter, both here and in every home. Stay safe, take care of each other, and savor your time around the table! May winter be kind to us all.

About Laura Grace Weldon

Laura Grace Weldon is the author of two poetry collections --- Blackbird (Grayson Books, 2019) and Tending (Aldrich Press, 2013), as well as Free Range Learning, a handbook of natural learning (Hohm Press, 2010). She lives on Bit of Earth Farm where she's a barely useful farm wench. Although she has deadlines to meet she often wanders from the computer to preach hope, snort with laughter, cook subversively, ponder life’s deeper meaning, talk to chickens and cows, sing to bees, hide in books, walk dogs, concoct tinctures, watch foreign films, and make messy art. Blog: lauragraceweldon.com/blog-2/ FB: facebook.com/FreeRangeLearningCommunity FB: facebook.com/SubversiveCooking FB: facebook.com/laura.euphoria Twitter: @earnestdrollery
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3 Responses to Canning, Drying, Freezing- Oh My!

  1. katechiconi says:

    Mmmm, peach jam! I stopped at a roadside farm stall on the way home, hoping for the pineapple jam I’d bought there before, only to discover I was a couple of weeks too early. They’re selling the early fruits, not making jam from the excess yet. Wish I could love pickles, but my stomach was damaged by chemo, and the resulting GERD doesn’t let me eat them any more without pain. And lovely food should not cause pain…

    • I’ve never made pineapple jam nor do I live in pineapple-growing land but it sounds luscious.

      Lovely foods should, indeed, never cause pain. I can only eat pickled foods with a meal but I’m grateful I can eat them at all when food allergies keep me from so many other delights (eggs, shellfish, corn, wheat, and more). I read about your food adventures with vicarious delight.

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