Since my last post, the garden has been doing very well with the exception of the beets. I think the voles are at it again, nibbling at the tender foliage as I sleep. At least they aren't tunneling like last year, destroying the plants at the roots. If a few tasty beet greens satisfy their appetites, so be it. I'll make the sacrifice. And, a fishing line fence kept out the deer, so there were a couple of good meals of sugar snap peas.
My raised beds don't supply enough tomatoes for mass canning, as I like to do every couple of years, and I have no peach trees. A trip to the Piedmont-Triad Farmers Market in Colfax, NC netted 50 pounds of tomatoes and 75 pounds of peaches. Yes, this is a lot for one person + Other Half. But you have to understand that I think he could drink tomato juice and eat peaches every day.
Other Half has some property in Davie County where he raises organic blueberries. They have such a wonderful flavor, and it's great knowing we can pick them straight off the bushes and pop them right into our mouths with no worries of pesticide contamination. I decided this year to make enough extra jams and jellies to see if I could sell any at work and on Craigslist for $4 per 8oz jar. The organic nature of the berries make them very easy to market, since people are becoming more conscientious of what goes in their tummies. I only posted the Craigslist ad a few minutes ago, but already at work I've sold twelve jams and three jellies in the first week. We'll see how the online ad goes.
All total, my canning consisted of:
Tomato juice: 24 pints
Whole tomatoes: 14 quarts, 7 pints
Peach preserves: 27 half-pints
Whole peaches: 15 quarts, 29 pints
Blueberry jelly: 18 half-pints
Blueberry jam: 24 half-pints
The pantry is chock full, needless to say. But this should definitely last two years and maybe on into three.
Canning, to me, is sensible because I certainly have more time than money. The overall cost involved was really very little, especially since I only had to buy about three dozen jelly jars. I already had a lot of other jelly jars, pints, and quarts so that expense was practically nil.
But canning also represents a large part of who I am. I was born in the country, raised on a farm, moved to the city and decided I didn't like it, then left to purchase my own home in the country because that's where I'm most comfortable. I was raised to be practical, and along with that practicality has come the ability to utilize my time wisely. Although many hours are spent properly preparing the fruits or vegetables for canning, washing and sterilizing the jars (I still haven't yet hooked up the dishwasher) then standing over a hot stove for hours as batch after batch is processed, the end result and satisfaction are well worth it. Achy joints and swollen ankles be damned; I've got good, wholesome food that I processed so I know exactly what's in it. And the older I get and the more involved I become in canning and freezing, the more I grow to appreciate my mother's and grandmothers' hard work doing the same thing. It's ingrained in me. It's truly is a large part of who I am and I plan on continuing the tradition until I can no longer stand at the stove.
|Peach preserves, blueberry jam, and blueberry jelly|
|Some pints of tomato juice, also.|