Freezing and canning in a world of fast food and fancy restaurants.
I’ve been “putting up” food for about fifty years. It’s something I enjoy.
My mother and prior generations did it because it was necessity in the winter. Plus, with a huge garden and fruit trees and bushes we wouldn’t eat it all so “waste not want not” was to preserve.
Prior to having freezers, women used water bath canners and pressure cookers. And some foods were pickled or dried.
I joked the other day: I had made two pints of plum conserve and it had only cost me $400 in electric and gas usage. An exaggeration for sure but no one preserves food as a means to save much money. Perhaps if you have a large family, everyone helps and you raise large quantities of food – then maybe.
Young families are starting to acknowledge the benefits of vegetable gardening and preserving their own food. Organic foods, knowing what is in the foods and flavor are important to them. In the process, they are realizing they need to preserve the abundance.
The different groups preparing for end times are stocking up their food banks with preserved food. Some are using military ration kits for long term storage but those that want good taste are putting up their own. In the assumption there will be no power grid, they can rather than freeze.
Most community food banks don’t accept home prepared foods as a safety issue. Some will accept fresh fruits and vegetables – call and ask if you’re interesting in donating.
My go to book on preserving food is the “Ball Blue Book of Preserving” and it’s worth its weight in gold. (See the additional article “Preservation Highway” 09-20-2012)
I buy most of my canning supplies locally because they have what I want at reasonable prices. Lehman’s non electric catalog is where I go for things I can’t find locally.
I have some old cookbooks and family recipes. Old cookbooks, like the 1963 Farm Journal “Freezing & Canning Cookbook” are gems. The deal with prior generations is they canned EVERYTHING in a zillion different ways. They did this so winter meals wouldn’t become boring and as a way to use every single edible thing from their gardens.
As a side note: They also preserved all kinds meat according to if they hunted and/or raised and butchered their own animals.
If you’ve never tasted home canned produce, you may not realize it retains much of the original fresh taste; far exceeding commercially produced foods. One thing I like about home canned foods is how quick it is to make a meal because the long prep time has already been completed.
5 cups Chopped & Pitted Plums (do not peel)
3 cups Sugar
2 large Oranges – Zested and chopped orange pulp (seeds removed)
1 cup Raisins (optional)
(Note: If you leave out raisins, add 1 cup more of plums)
Combine all ingredients in a large heavy saucepot except pecans. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly (uncovered) almost to gelling point (220 on your thermometer.) As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Ladle hot conserve into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two piece caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. Makes 4 half pints.
I list this recipe without all the little necessary canning instructions assuming you will either know what to do or have someone help you through the first time.