Frugal Green Living: Preserving the Harvest

strawberries photo

One of the best ways to save money is to make your own food, and this is the best time of year to do it, as the farmers markets overflow with the bounty of fall. At Planet Green, food writer Kelly Rossiter has been canning and bottling everything in sight, laying in supplies for the winter. She previously showed us how to find our dinner at the farmers market; Now she shows us what do to with it. Unless noted otherwise, all pictures by Kelly Rossiter.
Preserving the Harvest: Four Ways to Make Homemade Preserves

When I first thought about preserving food, making jams and pickles seemed like a delightful prospect. Now that I've been reading about it, it seems more like a daunting prospect. I've been reading Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard which is apparently the book to use. I especially liked the "small batch" part of title. I just can't see myself purchasing bushels of produce to put up like my Italian and Portaguese neighbours do. In August my whole neighbourhood is redolent with the aroma of cooking tomato sauce and roasting peppers. Some of these people have turned their garages into canning kitchens. I'm thinking that making a couple of jars of this and that is more my speed, just until I see if I can do this successfully. After all, if you wreck a couple of small jars of something, you can shrug your shoulders and move on, if you wreck twenty or thirty jars of something, it would make you cry. So, in the midst of reading about spores and botulism, I am cautiously moving forward, toward the day I actually put my hand to this task. ::More at Planet Green

the equipment photo

Preserving the Harvest: The Equipment You'll Need

I'm gearing up to do some preserving over the next few weeks so I'm getting ready, figuring out just what I need to do to make jams and chutneys. In an earlier post I outlined the four methods of preserving foods. Today I'm going to look at the equipment that is required to preserve your foods safely. ::More on Planet Green

canning eisenstat photo

Alfred Eisenstadt/ Getty Images
Preserving the Harvest: The Procedure

Now that I have reviewed the four ways of preserving, and the equipment I will need, I am moving ever closer to the actual event. Before I get started with a recipe I have to check over exactly what it is I need to know to make my jam or pickles. I still haven't decided what I'm going to make, it may simply depend on what I find at the farmers' market when next I'm there. ::More on Planet Green

jerusalem artichokes photo

Preserving the Harvest: Jerusalem Artichoke Pickles

Like most people of my generation, I've always bought jams and pickles rather than make my own. I did make two attempts at canning about 25 years ago; I made some raspberry jam which worked beautifully and some peach preserves which blew up in the jars. After that I went back to the grocery store.

Historically, housewives in Ontario "put up" preserves for two very good reasons. First, even a modest vegetable garden can produce enormous yields that would otherwise rot and secondly, if you didn't your family would starve by January. Even my mother, who was the epitome of the 60's suburban housewife with all the modern conveniences available, made her own chili sauce and mustard pickles. It seems to me that as people start to worry about increasing food prices and food availability, we are looking back at what our grandmothers and great grandmothers did and seeing the virtue in providing for our families ourselves. ::More at Planet Green
Next: Strawberry Jam

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