"The best place to have some food set aside is within our homes. . .
"We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week's food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. . . . I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all.
"Begin in a small way, . . . and gradually build toward a reasonable objective." (Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley, Oct 2002 and quoted again in April 2007)
With gardening season upon us I wanted to remind you about planting tomatoes. Here in Iowa and other areas in the U.S. there are cut worms. I could not find a picture so here is how I do my preventative measure…
Take a piece of newspaper one inch by three inches, this you want to wrap around the stem of the of the tomato plant like a little skirt. You want this paper so that half is below and half above the soil line, kind of like a "+" sign. The horizontal line represents the soil line, the vertical line represents the paper on the stem. Cut worms can’t be seen just your plant, cut right through is evidence they were there.
Here is a method I tried this year http://www.granny-miller.com/bedding-plant-success-the-greek-way/
Now that you planted your garden it is now time to learn how to preserve it.
Here are the methods I use...
Storing dried food in jars that are vacuum sealed
Freeze i.e. I picked and froze raspberries so sometime this week or next I shall can them into jam.
Things I use...
I will put these up not to advertise but I want you to see the pictures so you know what they look like if you run across them at yard sales or thrift stores.
http://www.amazon.com/Nesco-FD-60-Snackmaster-Express-Dehydrator/dp/B000LNVUJQ/ref=lp_1090752_1_15?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1430685778&sr=1-15 it is good to know how much they run new but keep your eyes open. My first one of these I got at goodwill for five dollars. As long as it works any one will do. Many I have paid three dollars for at yard sales. But now you can see what it looks like and what to look for if getting used plug in to be sure it works before you buy it.
http://www.amazon.com/All-American-921-2-Quart-Pressure/dp/B00004S88Z/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430686443&sr=8-1&keywords=all+american+canner+921 - this is the pressure canner that I have, only mine is thirty or forty years-old. I bought it used for ten dollars. Can you believe I thought hard on if we could afford the ten dollar expense? Look at that price in the link. Mine can hold a double layer of pints 19-20 pints depending on the jars.
What I want you to take away from this is they are good forever it seems. The gauge works can be replaced for about fifteen dollars. This canner has metal on metal, meaning there is no gasket that needs replacing. So because a canner is old don’t pass it up, a few more dollars and it is good as new. Wendy Dewitt got hers on eBay. Some were 80 years-old, so keep your eyes peeled. Know what you are looking for remember Pressure canner not "cooker."
http://www.amazon.com/Granite-0707-1-Porcelain-Water-Bath-21-5-Quart/dp/B0001UZL8A this you are sure to see often at yard sales. Often they are passed down. Again I got one from a friend. These are used to do tomatoes, pickles, fruits and jam not meat or vegetables.
http://www.amazon.com/Back-Basics-400A-7-Quart-Aluminum/dp/B0000DDUCJ this is what I use most often instead of the water bath shown above but I keep it for a back up. The steamer canner is for the things mentioned above for the water bath. I can at times have two steamer canners going at once. Knowing what it is called and what it looks like helps you keep an eye out. My second one cost three dollars new, unopened at a yard sale. Knowing what it was helped me while at the yard sale.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/28470827?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227019041306&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=t&wl3=42535768112&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=81197465792&veh=sem this is very useful as well. I use it to blanch my tomatoes and peaches to help take off their skins. I use it to blanch green beans and also potatoes to prepare to be dried. I got mine at a yard sale. I see them often at yard sales.
www.foodsaver.com/vacuum-sealers/foodsaver- gamesaver-deluxe/T000-33270-P.html#start=15&sz=12 this is a close picture of the one I have. Mine is an older version. I got it new from a yard sale, ten dollars. I think everyone needs to have some sort of vacuum sealer. When looking for them be sure that it has a port for a tube. This picture shows a dark small circle that is what you want.
http://www.amazon.com/Wondermill-WonderMill-Grain-Mill/dp/B000CPJKWC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431309859&sr=8-1&keywords=wondermill+grain+mill now you may not find one at yard sales but you never know, but keep in mind that you can check out a wheat grinder at church or borrow from others until you are ready for your own
On May 19th in the Ankeny Second Ward Relief Society at 7pm I will give a fifteen minute mini class on using one, but I want you to see what they look like. Along with this you would really benefit from a tall canister that goes with it.
These are things to be on the look out for when you start this yard sale season. If you already have an item and see one please let others know...we can help each other.
One more thing is collecting canning jars, quarts and pints, also jelly jars.
This may seem like quite a list and, well, it is. But there are several ways to gather them. If you have the money and can purchase them, that is fantastic! It took me years to get mine. If you do not have the money, when your family asks what you want for b-day or Christmas, this would be one way to get them. You could also ask on freecycle or shop thrift stores..
I find that when these things are on your mind or on your list when you go yard saling you might find them easier.
I can tell you that I have seen everything I listed at yard sales so it does happen.
Let your friends and family know what you are looking for, many more eyes can help in your search.
I am sure some would say, why would I want these.…?
I would say that there is so much you can do better than you can buy. You can buy that canned chicken in the store for lots or you can make your own jars of chicken for a much better price and unbeatable flavor. Try to find a pint or quart of roast... oh the best ever roast!
Ask Carolyn Senn how she likes home canned tomatoes.
If, like me, it takes awhile that is okay too. Learn all you can about home production. Remember to get all the current times and pressure, call the home extension number. Those living in Iowa and Minnesota #1-800-262-3804. Also check to see if your county is offering classes.
I think you will find this is very much a frugal thing. When we eat tomatoes we still have the jar to fill again. Though you cannot use the lid to can again you can use it to vacuum seal so no waste…a tin can you usually throw away.
I even dry my herbs.
Is it lots of work to garden and put up food? Yes it is...but we are not afraid of hard work right?
Those who came before would have loved to use the things we have now available to us.
So put your garden in or go to the farmers markets. Learn to put up your food no matter which method you choose. I know a lady who does not can but dehydrates gallons of fruits and vegetables.
I encourage you to involve your children.
Keep working on your storage, keep building your skills do the best you can.