preserving the harvest

It’s the time of year when our minds turn to thoughts of spring and we start dreaming of seed orders and garden plans…oh who am I kidding? We’re in the middle of straight up blizzard and there are 21 inches of snow on top of my car.  The only reason I’m thinking about spring gardening is because I just finished the last jar of this past years tomatoes and I wanted to know how long it would be before I got home grown tomatoes to put on my plate…far too long was the answer.

I preserve produce in a few different ways, mostly canning and freezing with a little dehydrating thrown in.  Things like potatoes and garlic go in baskets in my pantry so they are easy to grab when I am cooking.

The grand total (minus the dehydrating, which wasn’t much, and the taters and garlic)

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Canning

9 1/2 quarts of apple sauce

12 pints of pickles

4 4oz jars of pepper jelly

7 4oz jars of strawberry jalapeno jelly

6 pints of mixed berry jam

5 quarts of tomato puree

Freezing

2 gallons of blueberries

1 gallon of sliced peaches

1 gallon of sliced strawberries

5 quarts of shredded zucchini

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We have already started making some changes for next years garden because though it seems like a lot when typed out, it really wasn’t enough.  My goal is to grow and home preserve as much as possible so that means at least tripling the amount tomatoes that go in the garden since I use them so often.  I am also planning on adding a few new plants including storage onions and kale.  I have grown herbs in the past but for some reason didn’t last year so they are coming back as well.

There is something about planning for spring in the middle of a snowstorm that makes your plans grow much larger than you had originally intended isn’t there?