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Discussion in 'Gardening and Agriculture' started by CeeCee, Oct 9, 2008.
Tell me, what are you growing this year to can or dehydrate?
All the fruits I mentioned in an earlier post are getting dried.
Canning, IMO, seems like allot of wasted energy and time. It gets done here, but not very much.
I didn't can anything this year cause I don't have enough canning supplies yet. Also didn't have quite enough to can this year. I did however freeze quite a bit of swiss chard, Some beets, some onions.
Then I dehydrated some herbs for tea, Mint, camomile and borage
Then dehydrated some of the swiss chard, some lemon peels, Dill weed for seasoning and getting ready to dehydrate carrots,
oi! that would be one heck of a list. To make it easier lets just say everything we grow here is canned or dried if it can be. We produce about 90% of our own food on site if that gives you a better idea..
What's the advantage of using a can over a jar with a screw on lid? (Aside from breakability of glass)
'Canning' (proper) means you can can in juices and don't have to 'Reconstitute' or 'Hydrate'.
Canning will also allow you to make up mixed vegetables or soups, and you can can meats WITH the fats, instead of drying them out WITHOUT fats.
Canning will last much longer than drying, especially in damp climates or in regard to meats which no matter how you dry them, have a very limited shelf life.
Canning takes no more than the Jars, Lids, Rings, Salt and boiling pot or pressure canner.
As for what we can,
Several types of Green Beans, two or three types of Peas, Shelled beans (which dry well also), Corn, Peppers, Tomatoes, Potatoes, Meat of all kinds including fish...
We even prepare things you normally wouldn't can, like pie filling!
Nothing like a Strawberry-Rhubarb pie or cobbler about the end of January when it's just colder than a well diggers hinnie out there!
Virtually anything you can grow can be canned.
Let's see, what do I can...most everything I grow here. Some of my produce is used to barter for locally grown fruit like peaches, cherries and pears.
We use only heirloom seeds. No GMO-Frankenfood seeds found here. I save seed from my best plants to use for the following year. The seeds you save will produce plants better suited to your soil and climate.
What's in the garden:
There are usually 6 kinds of tomatoes, 4 types of pole beans, limas, several varieties of leaf lettuce, cukes, peas (pod and shell types), squash and cabbage. I have a patch of watercress planted next to our spring close to the house. It is so nice to go out and pick fresh cress to put on your tomato and cuke sandwich!
We built 6 additional raised beds (4x10) that give me 18 inches in planting depth. Now, I can grow root veggies like carrots, beets, potatoes, parsnips, onions and garlic.
I also grow quite a few herbs and flowers in pots and place them in among my veggies. Strong sented herbs like Winter Savory, Lemon Verbena, Sage, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Rosemary, Thyme and Chives do well in pots.
Flowers like Pyrethrum Daisy, Old Fashioned Marrigold and Lady Plymouth Geranium help deter the bad bugs and the polinators love them.
My garden looks more like an edible flower bed! During harvest season, I take my paring knife, coffee and slice of homemade bread out to the garden with me. I pull off a few garden goodies, set down on an overturned bucket and have breakfast! YUMMY!
What kind of device do you use to can stuff? Do they sell empty cans at grocery stores?
Although I think canning is a good way to preserve most things, it is also an expensive and time consuming thing, in my opinion, when you consider the water used, the fuel used, the jars ( a one time expense, but lids which must be new each time)...and some of that may not be renewable in certain situation.
In a SHTF situation, I'd much rather do seasonal eating for most things where you store potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots/root crops, winter squashes and apples in a coolish basement or room. These will mostly be preserved by the cool temperatures and not take up those other resources. Certain things, like tomatoes, which add so much to many meals, will be one major exception which I think is appropriate for canning. Other things are also appropriate in normal circumstances, but once/when SHTF, cutting back on most items would be a good thing.
Drying can be done with little supplies other than a dehydrator (could be home made), and the end product takes up much less space than canned items. Freezing is pretty easy, but that depends on electricity.
Remember also, that if the SHTF, and assuming there is no major security problem, you can continue to garden for several months out of the year, and eat things fresh from the garden while also growing enough to store for the non-growing months.
Each part of the country has different growing seasons and different crops that do well, so there is no hard and fast rules about what can/should be canned or otherwise preserved.
Knowing a lot about gardening and what does well in a particular area and/or garden will help to make planning for canning and other preservation methods easier.