Preserving Notes

by Josée

Last year was the first year I preserved a large amount of food using a water bath canner. As I went along, I kept a record of how much was canned, how much it cost, which recipe was used, when we ran out of the canned food and if it was enjoyed or left on the shelf. As I started canning this year I made reference to last year’s record on a regular basis. It was extremely helpful to remember that we didn’t like apple chutney but that we ran out of pears in the early spring.

This year I focused on canning fruit in simple syrup, jams, salsa, and applesauce. There were some items that we enjoyed last year that I did not preserve this year simply because I didn’t come across the right produce at the right time. The cool wet summer also affected what was plentiful and what was not.

A record of what I grew in the garden also made it into my planning binder. Although, the entry was pathetically small. All I could boast about was that we had a lot of borage, parsley, marjoram, thyme and sage. Yep, that’s about it.

I also make note of areas we foraged for food, berries in particular. Finding a great patch is wonderful, as long as you can remember where it is next year.

As I made a record of all that we canned, dehydrated and foraged for the last six months, I found myself surprised by what was accomplished, especially considering how exhausted I felt this summer (first trimester woes). I have my husband and sister to thank for all their help. They were there while I persisted to peel mountains of pears and pick rosehips in the pouring rain with my little ones.

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