As my garden slowly gets larger and larger, I get more and more interested in finding ways to preserve the harvest. My husband bought me a pressure canner for Christmas a couple years ago and I'm pretty sure it was in the kitchen for a straight month this summer.
I never thought I'd be interested in canning, but my friend and my mother-in-law introduced me to the ease of it, and I've been hooked ever since! I hate using up freezer space for produce because I always forget about it. Case in point, I froze about 15 jars of beets a few years ago, and when we moved, I ended up thawing and tossing them all because we never used them! And frankly, what do you do with frozen beets? Yuck. On the other hand, of the 50+ jars I made of pickled beets two years ago, there's only about 10 left, and the only reason those still exist is because we forget about them in the fridge! Whenever we put them on the table, they get snorted right down.
So this year, I made 5 different kinds of jam (not from my fruit, I didn't get that much after my kids ATE it all...not that I'm bitter), canned pureed tomatoes (WAY easier than canning them in chunks and almost as versatile), made pickles, applesauce, apple juice, and chicken stock. I had to put out an appeal for jars a few times! And I just ordered 15 lbs each of organic peaches and pears. Hey, when organic peaches and pears are on for $1/lb, you snap them up! I found a great recipe for canned peaches here, and am so excited to try them that I'm almost peeing myself. Almost.
I'm not a homesteader by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it's pretty fun to have my hobby be all about food. What is more satisfying than filling an essential human need directly from your own garden/pantry? Ahhhh.
Next week, maybe we can discuss the ridiculous amount of Swiss Chard I now need to preserve. I think I might need to renege on my anti-freezer qualms. Italian wedding soup, anyone?