This month, I really took the plunge and decided it was time to learn to can food!  I have been part of a co-op for several months, and I can get large quantities of bulk produce for a decent price.  However, we couldn’t eat it all at once, so I had to learn to preserve in order to take advantage of the great deals.

Mind you, like most things this year, this has been a self-taught deal.  Other than using my friends to ask questions here or there, as well as researching my questions on the internet, I was basically on my own to figure this all out.  All I can say is “Thank the Lord I live in this century, where I have access to a resource such as the internet!”

I decided to jump in with both feet.  When my co-op order came in, I had 20 pounds butternut squash, 20 pounds of apples, 40 pounds of yams, and that was in addition to 10 pounds of carrots, 22 pounds of tomatoes, and a pumpkin I got elsewhere.  I feel like I have hardly left my kitchen for the last 2 weeks.  I have learned to pressure can, water-bath can, puree’, peel, sterilize jars, and so much more! In addition, I learned the tools that I couldn’t do without, and the tools I still need to purchase.   2 things I haven’t quite gotten are how to blanch properly to get the skins to fall off, and how to strain tomatoes to remove seeds.  Thus, we will be eating tomato seeds and peels in the puree’ d marinara sauce.  I also ran into a few questions regarding proper texture and produce types, but hopefully I will either find a knowledgable person in the future or learn from experience.

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I also learned through this process that winter veggies are mostly orange!  Guess I will have to resort to dried peas and frozen veggies for some color and variety!  Nonetheless, we now have a pantry full of carrots, yams, spiced apple rings, applesauce, butternut squash, pumpkin, and marinara sauce.  All of it is naturally grown food with no added sugar (except a very small amount in the apple rings and yams), no preservatives, and cooked just right!

I think one of my favorite aspects of this whole thing was that I canned lots of baby food in little 4 oz. jars.  Unlike the baby food I tried to make in the freezer previously, N LOVED the can stuff.  So I shouldn’t have to buy baby food much anymore. 

Now if I can just get my other projects caught up so I can do the 10 pounds of carrots still in the fridge.  Where did those come from?!

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