Food PREP

Leo Voisine

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East Freeetown, Massachusetts
I have not canned anything in maybe 20 years - maybe longer. Even at that I only did water bath.

This year I went HOG wild.

I bought a pressure canner, food dehydrator and a vacuum sealer

Canned peaches, jelly, jam. Canned spaghetti sauce, zucchini soup, Chicken Veg soup. Dehydrated apples, peaches, pineapple, chili peppers. Ground the chili into powder. Vacuum sealed Jambalaya and my sweet peppers. On a roll. I just made 2 big Peach cobblers. One is for my daughter. I plan on some Apple Crisp next week.
 

Darren Wright

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It all sounds good to me. I was just chatting this weekend with my wife's grandfather about all the stuff that used to be stored in the cave and basement that they canned. I'm not sure what's happened to all the jars over the years, I haven't seen a dozen of them around there doing all the clean up.

@Don Baer, everything is keto in the right portion sizes. ;)
 

Ted Calver

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Good job, Leo. You got your gear before it started disappearing from the shelves. Lots of people out of work have gardens, are buying food bargains in quantity, and canning, freezing and dehydrating. I'm glad I already had a good supply of lids and jars. It's kind of fun. Now all you need is a freeze dryer. They're on sale. o_O
 

Ryan Mooney

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Leo,

Sounds like fun :) I'm personally pretty fond of edible chemistry experiments ;)

Probably mentioned this before but there are basically three books we use 90% of the time. The Ball Canning book has a lot of good info, and hard to go to wrong with their recipes. The "Stocking Up" book (I have two copies on from the 70's and a copy of the 3rd edition they have a fair bit of different stuff in them) is very solid and hits a lot of the "not canning" processes, highly recommended. If you're into pickling "The Joy of Pickling" has a ton of really great recipes and insights into "how" such things work.

There's a lot of stuff we used to can we've decided is better dried. The short list of surprised was summer squash (just throw the dried chunks into winter soups) and green beans (ditto soups & stews). The texture of the re-hydrated dried ones is significantly superior to the canned ones imho and the flavors are deliciously concentrated not diluted. The one preserving type tomato we actually got a lot of were some Italian drying ones so we will be eating off of those over the winter :)

I was just chatting this weekend with my wife's grandfather about all the stuff that used to be stored in the cave and basement that they canned. I'm not sure what's happened to all the jars over the years, I haven't seen a dozen of them around there doing all the clean up.

Good odds they were mostly the old wire bale style jars. A lot of those got sold over the years to the collector types. We used to use them a lot when I was a kid, and there are some newer systems that make claims about being reliable.... But my experience with them has been that it's a dice roll whether or not they'll seal. The modern pop style we've never had a problem with.
 

David Johnson

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In the past e did a of of canning and freezing but now with just 2 of us it is more cost efficient to just buy what we need. Few things we still preserve but this year as noted lids aeon short supply. Luckily we had enough to put up our stuff.
David
 

fred hargis

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Wapakoneta, OH
We are (were) big canners, and have slacked off a little in recent years with fewer people in the house. But this year we had a bumper tomato crop and I wanted to can some of them. Typically I'll buy new rings/lids for any of these adventures so went to the store to get some. To my surprise the canning section was completely empty, everywhere I looked. No problem, I'll check Amazon..they were cleaned out as well. As it turned out I did have enough rings/lids in our stash to do some tomatoes but it never occurred to me that Covid would send folks scrambling to grow gardens and can vegetables. I did notice I could buy a box of wide mouth rings/lids on E bay for $35 (+), they are usually around $5-$7 in stores......so I guess Covid didn't wipe out the scammers.
 

Leo Voisine

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East Freeetown, Massachusetts
Actually, I started from ZERO. Everything I HAD was gone long ago. I found a few things in the stores, but mostly empty shelves. Amazon saved my game. No, I didn't pay $35 for a $7 item, but there were no bargain prices either.

Financially - it is NOT worth it. I could buy 1-1/4 months of food for the price of all the preservation supplies I just bought, but that is a one time cost. On the fun level it's cool. Besides, the stuff I put up is not full of junk like the store bought prepared foods are. All the food is from my garden or fresh from local growers.

As the next few years go and I get more food from the garden, it might be a little more worth while financially. I planted 6 fruit trees in the past 2-3 years, so they will bear fruit in the next 2-3 years.

Diet friendly? Hmmmmm. Well - the chicken soup, the zucchini soup - sure.
 

Ted Calver

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Reusable Tattler rings/lids have a following in some canning circles, but are expensive. I've been thinking of getting a set to have on hand just in case the normal lid pipeline continues to struggle. It's possible that on down the line the demand for canning supplies will create a production surge of jars, lids and rings that exceeds actual demand and the prices will drop.
 

Ryan Mooney

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Reusable Tattler rings/lids have a following in some canning circles, but are expensive. I've been thinking of getting a set to have on hand just in case the normal lid pipeline continues to struggle.

Cross check the reviews carefully. They're somewhat difficult to get to seal reliably similar to the old wire bale style ones they're based on from what I've seen. I agree that if you can get them to work reliably they'd be a decent idea.

We found an industrial supply store that had bulk lids in April and stocked up some then. Around then you could also get jars shipped free from target (looks like they're both mostly out and have pulled them from the free shipping over $35 class, targets free shipping is still a great deal for some other stuff though), later in the year I was able to get a bunch for a friend from the local farm supply. My mom was able to get them from both walmart and tractor supply last month (she apparently didn't believe me when I told her to stock up this spring).

From what I'm seeing the jar supply problems look like a combination of some delayed supply chains and what I'm going to predict is a fairly temporary surge in demand. I'd bet there's still some disruption next year but likely not as bad and would be surprised if it persists significantly past that (I've been surprised before though hah).

OTOH we've also experimented with a bunch of preserving techniques that don't require actually canning or freezing (a lot of them still use jars but you can reuse lids some for dry and fermented goods).
 

Leo Voisine

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East Freeetown, Massachusetts
I think with covid a lot of people got into the victory garden and now are canning. Not sure how long after a vaccine come out they will stay with it.

I had a friend bring me a few big boxes of brand new mason jars he had in his garage for a couple of decades. all brand new - WOW. Yard sales in the next few years may be a good source for jars and materials.

I found Walmart to be here and there with supply. When they get something they put it on the shelf, buy is sells very fast.

I am well stocked up for this year, don't need anything more - for now. I will plant next years garden a bit more according to what I want to preserve for the winter.
 

Ted Calver

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Another option for food preservation is to use tin cans. I canned lots of salmon when we lived in Alaska and still have my can sealer. It looks like even the supply of cans has been affected by the surge in demand/Covid, and at $1.26 per 10oz can they are pricey for a one time use item.
 

Ryan Mooney

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It looks like even the supply of cans has been affected by the surge in demand/Covid,

Also aluminum cans, I know a lot of breweries that are struggling with that. Again partially supply issues and partially a large surge in demand due to in-house consumption of said beverages falling through the floor. I've kind of wanted a can seemer for a long time but haven't every really been able to justify it. They do look like a pretty cool toy.

So yesterday, I made Peach Jelly. It did NOT jell

Well you have some assuredly delicious peach syrup :)

I will plant next years garden a bit more according to what I want to preserve for the winter.

Also consider staging for things that keep further into cool weather without preservation. We're on our 4th (ish) planting phase of the garden this year. We just put out a lot of cool weather crops. For instance we're just putting out the fall large root radish (Daikon and some related like https://www.victoryseeds.com/radish_china-rose.html) and various Bok Choi and other cool weather cabbage and greens. About 3 weeks ago we did a fairly good planting of fall carrots and another round of beets and parsnips. Baker Creek has a nice youtube channel where they've been talking some about what you can/should plant in different seasons (https://www.youtube.com/user/BakerCreekSeeds),

What makes sense depends of course on what you eat. We tend to not use a ton of jam (and what we do use is as often as not cooked into baked goods) but do go through a fair bit of pancake syrup so I made more cherry and blackberry syrup than jam this year. We also eat a fair bit of root veg and greens so optimizing for having as many of those for as much of the season as possible also makes sense. I think having a couple years retrospective inventory is also useful for this.
 

Vaughn McMillan

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...What makes sense depends of course on what you eat...
Yeah, I'm looking into the best ways to can Cheetos (for the wife) and oatmeal raisin cookies (for me). :rofl:

I've canned a bunch of plum jelly and syrup this year, and have already done 3 batches of tomato sauce as well. Fortunately I stocked up on jars and lids before all the local stores were sold out.
 

Bob Gibson

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Amherst, New Hampshire
Ive been hankering for my grandmas piccalilli for a few weeks and can't find a local farm stand or store around here that makes their own. Marilyn used to always make some but she didn't plant her garden this year. We shouldn't have given all her jars away and bought some some green tomatoes and made our own :bang:

You sure are busy Leo :headbang:
 
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