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Small Batch Canning: Saving Time, Money, and Sanity!

Wouldn't it be wonderful if you had time during the garden harvest to can all day, every day? When you see super awesome deals on produce at the store, you could purchase them and can them right away when you get home?

You don't have that kind of time? Me neither.

A lot of people ask how I get so much canning done when I am busy with a full-time job and kids. I have a good sized garden and we like to eat fresh produce from it. However, I plant tomatoes and cucumbers with the sole purpose of canning them. I like to take the extra garden bounty and preserve it so we aren't wasting food. However, I don't have time for marathon canning sessions. Even on the weekends, I have plenty of other things on my to-do list besides canning.

I practice the time-saving practice of small batch canning. If I can preserve something every day or night, I can get a lot of canning done. I can keep up with my garden better by small batch canning.  I am not waiting for a lot of tomatoes to be don…

Sunday Thoughts - October 1, 2017

Sunday greetings, everyone!

In talking to some of my readers and good friends, I found out that while they liked my blog posts (thanks!) they wanted me to go back to doing something of a regular update about what we do around here. They also liked when I talked about what I thought of things and what I am interested in. I was a little surprised to tell you the truth. I was pretty sure no one really wanted to know what goes on inside my brain!

Well, this last week was more than just unproductive. I didn't get hardly anything done except run some errands on Friday, ship books, and go to some of the kids things Friday and Saturday. I finally had nose surgery on Monday morning and that knocked me out for a few days. Quite frankly, I am still not sure what I am going to get done to today because I don't want to jeopardize the surgery. I had bilateral inferior turbinate reduction surgery so I could breath through my nose again for the first time in 20+ years. The surgeon took a fair a…

The Prepper's Canning Guide Book Review

Disclaimer: I was given a copy and asked to review this book. The opinions of this review are mine.

The Prepper's Canning Guide: Affordably Stockpile a Lifesaving Supply of Nutritious, Delicious, Shelf-Stable Foods by Daisy Luther was a book I was looking forward to buying and using for this upcoming gardening season. I have almost every book by Daisy so I knew this would be a book I would want to get. 
Do you know who Daisy Luther is? If you don't, please check her out at The Organic Prepper and DaisyLuther.com. She also runs Prepper's Market which is a food storage company with delicious tasting food for your food storage! She is also co-founder of Prepper's University which helps new and current preppers get started in prepping and keep their prepping in good shape!
This book did not disappoint! I will be canning almost every recipe she supplies in the book. They look delicious. Some of the canning recipes are a little out of the box with recipes that can be canned any…

Monday Monthly Update From The Homestead - August/September Edition

I love this time of year! We are so busy trying to keep up with the yard, the garden, and the projects. So this will be a monthly update for now and in the future. 

In August, you realize that summer is winding down fast. You may have at least two months left to get everything done outside that you can get done. Canning is full speed ahead trying to keep up with the produce. While I love dehydrating, I am finding myself doing a lot of canning this year.

Then September comes and you realize you may be running out of time! 

Canned green beans
We canned several quarts and four pints of green beans. We also canned summer squash pickles and zucchini relish. I froze eight quart size bags of vegetable pasta sauce. I have canned some salsa and need to do A LOT MORE! I froze a lot of the small onions from the garden to be used with roasts and in stews. 

After waiting patiently, oh so patiently, on the tomatoes, they are finally starting to come along. We have picked more grape tomatoes than we can…

Monday Update From The Homestead - August 8 (Garden, Life, Bathroom, and Being Frugal!)

This last week has been busy! Again. Surprised, aren't you? 

I promise the winter updates will not be nearly as exciting as these summer ones. The weather is nice, hot, humid, and we are just trying to get everything done outside that we can. Except...



We ended up doing an impromptu remodel on our downstairs bathroom. You know, toliets leak once in a while. A new ring, some chalk, and new vinyl flooring will make it better. The walls need to be painted too, but I need to read up about how to paint over wallpaper. I don't have any desire to take wallpaper off of plaster.

We weeded about half of the garden. The garden and produce remaining probably thanks me, but it just seems like a lot of work. We are getting zucchini, summer squash, a few tomatoes, and a lot of green beans! I think I got all the onions dug out. They were a little on the small side, but still good. The shallots are just about reading to be dug out too. 

I haven't done a lot of canning this summer yet. As much …

How I Preserve Food: Vegetable Soup

One of the greatest things about preserving your food is making your own food to eat later on! You can control the ingredients, use up what you have on hand, and make delicious food such as this Vegetable Soup. I also like that I can make this recipe in pint jars for work lunches and quart jars for a quick supper.

Vegetable Soup
based from a recipe in Ball Blue Book of Preserving

2 quarts chopped, peeled cored tomatoes (about 12 large)
1.5 quarts cubed and peeled potatoes (about 6 medium)
1.5 quarts 3/4-inch sliced carrots (about 12 medium)
1 quart whole kernal corn, uncooked
2 cups 1-inch sliced celery (about 4 stalks)
2 cups chopped onions (about 2 medium)
1/5 quarts water
Salt and pepper (optional, as you want)

Feel free to play around with the vegetables a bit. I would make sure to keep the tomatoes, but I think the other vegetables can be switched to taste. The original recipe called for 1 quart of lima beans which I did not add because I did not have any on hand. I also added 2 …

What Do You Need To Start Canning Your Own Food?

Canning, by and far, is one of the easiest things I know how to do. That may be because I steer away from complicated recipes, but I find it so rewarding to pick food from my garden or trees and preserving it myself. Many people are overwhelmed by canning, but with a few good pieces of equipment, you can do it too.

Canning is not fancy if you choose it not to be, but some basic equipment is necessary. I got a lot of my canning equipment from my mom and garage sales. I got a lot of jars from my grandmas and friends. You do not have to drop a lot of money on canning unless you want to. The list below is what I consider the essentials of canning. This is all I use to can.

The Essentials:

1. Jars. I use half-pint, pint, and quart jars. The half-pints I use for all kinds of butter, jams, and jellies. The pints and quarts I use for just about everything else. I have a tendency to can using portion and meal size for my family.

2. Lids and Rings. You will need many more lids than rings. I started…

Slow Cooker Applesauce - Eating, Canning, and Freezing Instructions

Slow Cooker Applesauce is probably one of the easiest recipes I have in my arsenal to make. I love that I can sweetened it to taste, spice it if I want to, and make enough to can.

Slow Cooker Applesauce also has the benefit of saving me money by using the slow cooker and not the stove. I also like this recipe because there is no babysitting the stove! I have better things to do with my time than babysit the stove.

Per pint, Slow Cooker Applesauce is also cheaper than purchasing it in the store. I know what is in my applesauce versus the store bought applesauce which can have high fructose corn syrup and other preservatives that are not necessary!

During the fall, apples are cheap! If you don't have a tree or two to pick from, you can pick up 10-20 pounds pretty cheaply at the store. I know our local stores were advertising $.69 a pound for apples during this last fall. When you do the price break down, you can make your own cheaper than the store. During the rest of the year, I can…

How to Can Your Own Potatoes

What you see below was my total crop of potatoes from the garden this year. I planted three rows of 15 plants each and this was it. I might have to set a better watering system next year. Dang heat. 


I knew I wanted to can potatoes again this year. I love the convenience of opening up a jar, draining it, and dumping the potatoes into a frying pan. Almost instant fried potatoes! You don't need garden potatoes to do this, by the way. A bag of potatoes from the supermarket will work too. This is also a canning project that can be done any time of the year.
How To Can Potatoes:
1. Wash the potatoes thoroughly. Set a pot of water to boiling. Get your pressure canner ready to go and set to boiling. Place quart-size jars into hot water or a warm oven to get them hot. Set a small pan of water to simmer for the lids.

2. Peel the potatoes if you would like. (I don't, but that is a personal preference.) Cut the potatoes into similar size pieces that you can get into the jar. I do roughly one…

What Meats Will Meet Your Needs?

In setting up your food storage, a tough area to address is meat. When I started this series, I stopped because I wasn't certain how to address this myself along with the fact that I had changed my mind a few times about how I was going to address this area.

The best way to address the issue of meat in your food storage is to understand that you will need a few different plans. You have heard of others saying back-ups to back-ups to back-ups? In this case, they are absolutely right.

I know others who will say that you do not necessarily need to have meat in your food storage plan and that you will need to replace meat with other healthy proteins or go meatless. While I do encourage a few meatless meals a week, I do not believe meat is totally replaceable in the food storage plan. Meat is too valuable of a resource of necessary protein to give up eating altogether.

My first plan for meats to keep my chest freezer full of them. In fact, as of this being written, I have very little room…

Canning Tomatoes

This year I have been learning to can tomatoes. Truthfully they intimidated me. All the work and the questions surrounding how to can tomatoes would be enough for me to avoid it! With my newish attitude to produce some of own food, not waste food, and preserve it has caused me to view tomatoes a bit differently. Because....

We eat a LOT of tomato-based products. Pasta sauce, anyone?

Lately, I have had a lot of people ask me how I can tomatoes and what recipes I use. True confession: I choose the easy way out. I choose Mrs. Wages. She has been very, very easy to work with and I can find her pouches at my local grocery stores. She helped me to make 11 pints of pasta sauce last night!

I really want to can tomatoes using from-scratch recipes. This weekend looks like I will have my chance. I only have two pouches left and more tomatoes than that since a sweet friend has gifted me with tomatoes. I committed to not spending any unnecessary money for awhile so from-scratch it will be.

I reall…

Strawberry Jam Fever (and a few tips!)

I have been making Strawberry Jam for the last few days when I have a few moments. I found a really good deal on them at the store as well as getting a few from my garden. We love, love, love strawberry jam! This is also the one thing I can make that my oldest child does not give me grief for canning.

I did something different this year. I use to make freezer strawberry jam. This year, I made it and canned it because (1) I don't have room in either of my freezers and (2) I wanted to actually can it this year. 
First I made regular Strawberry Jam or so I thought. This is soooo much better than the recipe I had been using! This recipe came from the Food In Jars blog to whom I am eternally grateful for all the canning recipes they post. Some day, I will get through all of them! Please click on the link for their recipe!
There they are in the middle. Right next to my canned chicken. Delish!
Next I made Strawberry Balsamic Jam. I had some balsamic vinegar to use up and I had heard grea…

Making Chicken Stock

In our quest to become healthier, more frugal, and self-sufficient, we have been making our own things. Chicken stock is one of them. I think I only have one can of the store-bought stuff left on the shelf. I have been using my homemade variety a little over a year now and I love it! I can my chicken stock and sometimes I will freeze it, but I like canning it the best. No unthawing!

Chicken Stock

The ingredients are very loosely based. It really depends on what I have on hand. I also use the bones and leftovers from when we roast chickens. I will keep these in the freezer and pull them out when I get time to make broth.

1-2 chickens worth of bones and leftovers
3-4 carrots, roughly chopped into pieces
3-4 celery stalks and leaves, roughly chopped into pieces
1 onion, cut up into wedges
3-4 garlic cloves, whole
Salt to taste (I add roughly a scant palmful)
Whole peppercorns (10-12 roughly)
Water to cover the whole thing and then some

Put all ingredients except water into a big pot. I us…

Some Interesting Links

I haven't been posting so much because I have been busy learning! I am trying to learn more about canning, prepping, and to some extent candle-making.

Here is what I have been watching on YouTube lately:

Canning Chili: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_du998lYkdE&feature=related

Canning Potatoes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUkjSWLNmKw&feature=related

Canning Beef: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUBRKyAHoOw&feature=related

Canning Pork: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LghymrKPbSk&feature=g-vrec&context=G2fa4c59RVAAAAAAAAAg

Here is some of the blog ideas I have been reading about:

Canning Chicken at the Hugs and Giggles Blog

Making DYI Survival Candles at the TEOTWAWKI Blog

6 mistakes Homesteaders make and how you can avoid them at the Joybilee Farm Blog

Rising Gas Prices: 10 Ways to Save Money at the Pump at the Frugally Sustainable Blog

I hope these are as informative for you as they were for me! Thanks for reading!