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Determine How MUCH Food to Preserve

May 27, 2013

When I married my youngest son’s father I entered a family steeped in the traditions of preserving the harvest. My father-in-law LOVED to plant and would prepare several gardens. One had 100 tomato plants. Another garden had many long rows of green beans and yellow squash and bell peppers. Two more gardens had more of the same.DSC_0032

He did not plant more variety and he did not tend to his garden. Weeds grew like crazy and the hot dry summer would always end up killing everything by late July. When I asked him why he didn’t water he said it was too expensive.  Then I asked him why he didn’t just have ONE smaller garden with maybe 10 tomato plants, 10 green bean plants, 10 squash plants, and 10 pepper plants and he said he had always been doing it this way.  And didn’t plan on changing it.

All we could do was pick the early output and it still was more than the family could eat.  Mama taught me how to can the green beans but that was all they ever preserved. Each member of the extended family received 50 quarts and she still had rows and rows of jars from prior years on shelves.

Church View Farm canned food storage

Church View Farm canned food storage

Planning your garden to have the right amount of harvest for your family is the first step.  Knowing how to preserve food that you grow is the next so you can eat it until the next harvest is the next.  Watch for classes to be offered by The Wild Ramp.

There are several websites that can help you determine how much of your garden produce your family will eat year round so you can plan your canning, drying and freezing needs.

http://lds.about.com/library/bl/faq/blcalculator.htm

http://pinterest.com/katieocole/preserving-the-harvest/

http://extraordinaryordinarylife.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-do-you-know-how-much-to-can-or.html

And if growing your own food is not for you, you know you can get wonderful healthy vegetables and fruits at The Wild Ramp. If you are a Friend of the Market take advantage of your membership and send a request for any quantity of anything to farmer@wildramp.com and our Market Manager, Shelly Keeny will arrange for one of our Producers to have that set aside for you.  Last summer I purchased 3 boxes of “canning tomatoes” from Fuhrman Farm over several weeks. I dried one batch of tomatoes with some and  prepared sauce with two of those bushels and the “tomato bomb” (aka paste) (https://wildramp.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/tomatoes-everywhere-try-this/)  with the other.  It was not enough to last the winter, so now I know this growing season I need to preserve more.

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