Loading the Larder

Anyone who is trying to make do should be loading their larder right now. What is a larder? A larder is another name for a pantry closet or a place where food is kept.
Frost is right around the corner, then all this bountiful harvest will be gone. Visit your local growers, dust off the dehydrator and get to preserving food for the winter.

Proverbs 6:6-8 reads “Go to the ant , you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.”

Canning, freezing, and drying are the three main ways to preserve food for the winter. Grab a book on preserving from the local library and start putting away food for the winter.  Applesauce is fairly easy to make, you could start with it.
Tomatoes, peppers, garlic, onions and vinegar can be combined to make a delicious concoction called salsa. Salsa not only helps feed your family inexpensively through the winter, if it tastes good, you can give it as gifts to cut down your Christmas budget. Salsa is great to serve at parties. Salsa needs to be canned not dried but it is an awesome way to use the abundance of the harvest to save much money. Make salsa as a family and save money as well as draw the family closer together.

Red raspberries are ripening for the second picking. Apples and pears are ripening as well. Canning some applesauce or pears is a great way to preserve this year’s bountiful harvest for enjoyment this winter. To preserve berries for the winter: pick them, rinse them in cold water, put them in a freezer bag, remove excess air, and freeze. You never know what you can do unless you try! Load up the larder now so you can gaze at those pretty jars when the snow is falling and begin to make do!

Courageous Canning

Canning is hard work! Canning can be monotonous, hot, and exhausting. Because I am writing this blog, I measured the temperature above the stove as we were canning. Guess how hot it gets while you are canning? The temperature was over 120 degrees Fahrenheit! On Monday we canned for over 12 hours. It was nine o’clock in the evening when we turned off the canner. If you have a person who cans in the family, please honor them in some way the next time you are enjoying the fruits of his or her labor.

There is no way around it; canning is hard work.  The most obvious benefit to canning is enjoying the sight of the pretty jars nicely arranged in your cabinet or on your shelf. There is such a feeling of accomplishment seeing those jars neatly displayed. Another reason to can the bountiful harvest is the food is already paid for. I have a friend who doesn’t can her own sauce. She buys a sauce with three cheeses, in the space of one month in the fall the price of her sauce doubled. How can we afford that?

When I can, I do not add any dyes or high fructose corn syrup. I believe my tomato sauce is more healthful than what you can buy in the store. No dyes means easier clean-up.

Here is a food preservation tip. Do your legs get tired while you are in the kitchen preserving the harvest? One way to help alleviate aching legs is to have about three pairs of shoes in the kitchen all with different size heels. Every hour or so change shoes so that your legs get a different work-out. For one hour wear flats. The next hour try a pair of sneakers. For the third hour put on a pair of comfortable dress shoes. Changing shoes can help you get your canning finished with less stress on your legs and your legs may even get a workout. Preserving the harvest will be a little more comfortable. After all there is not much one can do about the heat!!!

Visit Your Local Growers

If you are trying to make do, summer/fall is an important time of year. Now is the time to visit your local growers, including farmer’s markets, orchards and pick-your-own places. Proverbs 10:5 reads “He who gathers in summer is  a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.” Tomatoes, zucchini, peaches, apples, beans and many other fruits and vegetables are ripening.

If you want to save money, visit your local growers, and learn how to preserve the bountiful harvest that is available now, but soon will be gone. We enjoy dried apples all winter long. Canned tomato sauce is a welcome addition to many wintertime meals including lasagna and spaghetti. Frozen corn is one of our favorite vegetables to enjoy when the snow is flying. If you can or dry your food it takes no additional energy to keep it preserved. Freezing food means keeping a freezer running all winter but is often easier to do.

A simple way to preserve spices from the garden is to freeze them in ice cube trays. For instance you pick the basil and rinse the leaves with cold water. Place an empty ice cube tray on the table and cut the leaves up with a scissors above the tray and allowing the small pieces to fall into the tray. When you have cut up all the leaves or the tray is full, cover the pieces with water and freeze it. Dispose of the stems. When the cubes are frozen solid, remove them from the tray and place them in a marked bag. Immediately replace them in the freezer. In the winter when you need the basil, take the one or two cubes out of the bag and place them into your soup or sauce.

Harvest is a very important time for people that are trying to make do.  Be diligent.  Preserve as much fruits and vegetables as your family needs to make it through the winter and a little extra to help others or for gifts.