The month of October usually marks the end of high canning season for me. The regular canning usually starts around June for the early crops of mustard greens, cabbages, beets, broccoli and green peas. Onions and maybe some of those little new potatoes and spinach. Then in June come the strawberries and right behind them usually the blackberries. The months of August and September are pretty well consumed with canning the main garden. Corn, beans, tomatoes, squash, okra, and peppers. August also welcomes in the peaches. Cool weather we dig the potatoes, sweet potatoes and the last is the pumpkins. By the time the end of September rolls around the apples are ripening. Autumn usually is the time for pecans and walnuts and the butchering of the pork and venison. Sausage making happens at that time and rendering lard. I am ready for cold weather to come by November and my days to be filled with quilting and reading. By February I will again be mooning over those seed catalogs and dreaming of planting again. It is a never ending cycle.
But for now I am taking a small break from endless canning. I have frozen tomatoes in the freezer to cook down but first I have to free up some shelf space. So one winter day I will pull them out and can them when we have eaten some of what is already canned. There are still some chickens to be butchered and I will can broth from them but again I must free us some shelf space first. There are 565 jars of food canned, pickled and dehydrated on my shelves. We still have a hog to butcher and sausage to make and lard to render. But again that will wait until it is cooler. Hopefully there will be a couple deer to finish off the freezer also. Once the butchering is done both freezers will be completely full either with meat or frozen vegetables. There will be pecans and walnuts to pick up and crack but again that is something that takes little room. The huge harvests are over for this year. No more canning tomatoes for 4 days straight or snapping beans for 2 days. My pantry fare is nothing fancy or exotic just your basic home grown nourishing food.
It is a good feeling to know that we produced everything in these jars and most of what will be in the freezer. We give thanks for our blessings. As I hear the media talk of rising food prices and recalls due to contamination it gives a great sense of pride to know that my family has good nourishing food regardless.
I am pretty well out of jars and out of pantry shelves so I guess my canning will slow down for awhile anyway. Most of what is left in the garden we will either eat fresh, give to the neighbors or feed to the livestock. Now I will concentrate on cleaning, organizing the canning equipment and putting away and reorganizing the pantry. A good sweeping and wiping down and it will be good to go for the winter ahead. Putting away the pickling crocks and going through my rings and throwing away any rusty or damaged ones.
I will go through and make sure all older food is always rotated to the front to be used first. With the wire shelves it is so easy to dust and I love that they can be adjusted to accommodate either pint or quart jars. You can also see through the shelves making it easier to monitor for any discoloration of jars or oozing signalling that you have lost a seal.They were a bit pricey but with the price of lumber not as much difference as you might think.
What do you do to get your pantry prepared for winter?
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter