It’s the middle of July here in the Tennessee Valley and the garden is in full swing. The 3 grandsons are here as well for the summer with school out and there is a whole lot going on at the homestead. The kitchen is very busy with everything from canning green beans, tomatoes, and beets to making Bread and Butter Pickles, Dill Pickle Spears, Sweet Relish, Pizza Sauce, Salsa, Spaghetti Sauce and even herbs drying in the dehydrator. I like to describe this time of year as controlled chaos in a good way.
I had to giggle yesterday when I stood back and really took a look at the counter tops, what chaos and no more room on them that’s for sure. During this realization, from the other room, the two smaller boys 8 & 11 break out into an argument and I have to go in the room be the referee and stop the chaos in there as well. Controlled chaos, it’s what summer time is all about I suppose. I have friends that are asking questions often and want to learn how to preserve foods for their family? So I thought , why not, over the next few days, start sharing with you my step by step recipes and let you decide if you want to pursue canning and preserving for your family. I will admit, canning sounds great, the pictures are pretty and it does save a whole lot of money, but it is far from easy.
It’s long hot hours in the kitchen standing over a hot stove peeling and cooking for hours. We here on the homestead decided to do our best to grow and preserve enough food for our family to last all winter long. If you choose, you can do it as well for your family. Our goal is to slowly eliminate the need for the grocery store for food completely. Remember the idea of Hidden Springs Homestead being created is to obtain self-sufficiency and to be less dependent on the dollar and have more time together as a family.
Even though this is only my 3rd year in canning, I have learned a lot and made a lot of mistakes too. As my story goes, (here) I was raised on a small 5-acre homestead complete with all the animals and garden, but growing up, I wasn’t at all interested. That has all changed – I’m loving the idea of growing and preserving our own food. It does, though, take a lot of time and energy and we are in just the beginning of our journey.
The day begins at 4:30 -5 am and a lot of time, it doesn’t end until around 8 pm and bedtime is a 9 pm, just because it’s been a long day and I can’t keep my eyes open. Summers are brutal in Tennessee, the temperatures get up to around 92-98 degrees with a heat index of well over 100 and the humidity makes it very difficult to be outside. I now understand why my mom, dad and grandparents got up so early to get out before the sun rose when we were growing up at home. It is necessary to beat the heat in the garden and doing outdoor chores, so I am out there by 6 am to get all my work outside done and then try to be inside no later than 10am to begin in the kitchen and in July, 10 am is already hot. It does begin to cool down around 6 pm so at that time, I can go back out and continue to work on whatever needs to be done out there. In the meantime, between about 10 am and 6 pm, work is going on in the house and normally, I’m in the kitchen.
The above is a picture of my canning shelves that are currently located in a bedroom. Our plan is to enclose the back porch and put the canned goods and the freezers out there, but until then it remains in the bedroom.
As I have already said, I have friends that ask often how to can foods and store up for winter, so over the next few days I will be sharing with you all my canning tips and recipes and hopefully inspire you to create your own supply. I will not make it to look pretty and tell you that it is easy, but that it is hard work that is well worth all the effort. It is though, very nice to able to walk into another room of the house and have most of your food stored. It makes you feel good to know that you are helping to take care of your family and feeding them healthy foods.
So, are you interested in learning how to preserve foods? If so, leave a comment or questions that you may have and I will do my best to address them as quickly as possible. I don’t pretend to know it all, but I do feel like I can help coach you along. Stay tuned for recipes to come.
Are you already canning for your family, if so, what?