SAVING FOOD!

We had snow and ice again yesterday, but the sun is shining brightly today. The other snow had just melted and now we have 7 inches on the ground again. It sure is pretty but I much prefer green grass and leaves!

The seeds that I started last week are all up and growing, so I am checking the moisture of their soil each day. I will get out my little grow light tomorrow and set it up. They are getting sun (when it’s not snowing) in my West-facing picture window, but I think they need more light. This is not an exact science for me!

This week I want to talk about ways to preserve the goodness I plan on growing in my garden this summer. The ways I use are freezing, water-bath canning, pressure canning and drying. Pressure canners are somewhat expensive, but I was fortunate to buy one from a friend’s mother for 5 dollars. It’s not new, but it is in good shape. It’s a large pan pressure cooker, but that is large enough for me. I can my food (for one person) in half-pint jars and they fit perfectly inside. A word of caution about buying a used pressure canner: Take it to an extension office to have it safely checked out if you don’t know about its safety. Pressure canners can be dangerous if they are damaged. I also suggest getting a Ball Canning book. I think they are the best for instructions for canning. I pressure can most all of my garden produce except tomatoes. Tomatoes have enough acid in them that they are safe to water-bath can. You run the risk of getting botulism from water-bath canning most other vegetables.

You may recall in one of my first posts I suggested getting a freezer. A freezer, for me, is an indispensable tool for saving extra garden produce. My freezer is approximately 36″ x 20″ chest freezer and is just about the right size for one (or two) person’s frozen food. The size of freezer you need is determined by the size of your family, but my advice is, if you can only get a small freezer, that is better than none. Again that Ball canning book will have instructions on freezing food or look on YouTube to learn how.

And finally, my third way of preserving food is by drying it. Food can be dried in an oven on it’s lowest setting. I was lucky enough to find a used dehydrator in a thrift shop. I haven’t used it yet, but will give it a try this summer. I, too, will be looking on YouTube for instructions for guidance in drying food.

Food can also be dried outside on warm sunny days. I know my great grandmothers did this, but I have never tried drying food this way.

I purposely have not given specific instructions about any of these ways to preserve food. There are plenty of sites on line that will do that. I may get into more specifics during the summer as I am canning, freezing, and drying food.

I have to be careful to not wish my life away, but it would sure be nice if it was spring or summer now!

Have a good week! I’ll be here again next week.

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