Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Making Ends Meet

In these trying times everyone is trying to save every penny they can, anyway they can. We like to have a small garden in our backyard every year and we plant different things every year. We always start with lots of tomato plants and any kind of pepper plants we can find. This year we only had cayanne and hot banana peppers but they are overflowing with peppers. We didn't tend to our tomatoes and keep them watered or we would have had lots more tomatoes. We're still getting little tomatoes off of the vines. We also got to plant okra and squash this summer. The squash has played out but the okra is about seven or eight feet tall and still blooming.

I cleaned out my freezer last year and put up as many vegetables as I could. We ate out of the freezer for a year and I still had a shelf full of vegetables I need to finish off. I started filling the middle shelf in the freezer until it was filled to the max. We will have plenty of okra, squash, and tomatoes to eat this winter when all gardens are a fond memory.

I put up 12 dozen boxes of green beans a few summers ago and we are still eating from them. I didn't can anything this year but I plan to put up more green beans next year. My pressure canner is a huge double decker that will hold up to 18 pints at a time. I love it when the jar lids "pop" when they start to cool and the lids seal. That's music to my ears. That guarantees no botulism.

We know about the vegetables we plant from the time they are put in the ground until they are ready for harvest and processing. We don't use pesticides very often and we never pick vegetables with pesticides on them. I feel more confident knowing that our food isn't exposed to harmful chemicals. I want to feed my family the best and the healthiest food possible and I can do that when I can and freeze our own food.

I read that classes are popping up to teach people how to can and freeze food. I guess the economy is changing peoples opinion about buying everything from the grocery store. I am all for learning to preserve food and do everything you can to save a buck. I have been canning green beans for years. After eating home canned green beans it is hard to go back to buying bland soggy canned green beans.

I feel a connection to the women in my life who have instilled this art in my life. My mother and my grandmothers all canned and froze food for their families. They even used to string up beans to dry for leatherbritches.

Women have always had to preserve food to feed their families. Before we had jars and freezers food had to be dried or stored in deep pits dug in the ground and covered to keep them from spoiling. I bet women thought they had died and gone to heaven when the pressure canner and the freezer were invented. I know I feel that way about my microwave.


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