Summer is officially over and Autumn has begun! At least, that's what the calendar says and that's what our weather is telling us. If you're in the south, then you're like "yeah, ooooo-kay" with a little eye roll.
That's how it was for us last year before we moved to Washington.
This year ... this year is a whole kinda different. And I love it.
Nights get down into the low 40s. The sun is out during the day with mid-60s. Windows are open all day and night. The rainy season is coming. Allergies are cropping up. Animals are spunky.
It's quite glorious.
My parents were visiting up from Texas this past week. We did lots of driving, exploring, experiencing. One place we drove to was Cascadian Farm and to get to the farm, you have to drive through the Cascades. Makes sense, right? The farm was a bit disappointing (they are mostly resellers now and only personally produce what is sold at their small roadside stand), but the Cascades were awesome. And it was snowing.
You know what that means?
W I N T E R I S C O M I N G
I'm using that hashtag a lot on Instagram right now.
Speaking of Instagram. If you follow me over there, then you'll know my official canning season is over. I still can throughout the winter in regards to beans and anything I put up in the freezer over the summer - canning during the winter helps keep our house warm, since we don't have central heat - but my fresh preserving season is finished. Guess that's a better way to put it.
Let's start over.
My fresh preserving season is over!
In light of that, I'd like to share my list with you.
Keep in mind, this list is only what I preserved fresh this year and does not include our dried goods (rice, oats, etc). I am not one to publish our entire food storage inventory for the world to see. However, at the end of winter, I will come back and post what all we ate and how much to give you an idea.
The cool thing about our food storage, which we touched on a bit last year, is that it is supposed to see us through 6 months of winter (Nov - Apr). During those 6 months, we will rely heavily on our food storage to not only save money, but also because that's just what we like to do. Food up here is not cheap in the winter, plus it's out of season and trucked in from other states/countries. We might spend $20 a week on salad stuff, but our bodies mostly consume starches to keep warm.
And without further ado.... everything I preserved fresh this year...
Surviving the Winter
For a family of 2 adult humans, who have a plant-based diet.
Mulberries - 1 gallon
Cherries - 3 gallons
Blackberries - 1 gallon
Grapes (purple / green) - 4 gallons
Blueberries - 4 gallons
Blueberries - 1 pint
Bananas - 1 pint
Fruit (Cold Storage)
Apples - 2 boxes
Pears - 3 boxes
Vanilla fruit medley – 9 pints
Pear sauce – 11 half pints, 3 pints
Pears in vanilla brandy – 5 quarts
Applesauce – 7 half pints
Peach butter – 13 half pints
Grape jelly – 12 half pints
Pear vanilla jam – 8 half pints
Cherry vanilla jam – 13 half pints
Mulberry jelly – 3 half pints
Peach vanilla jam – 11 half pints
Peach salsa – 4 pints
Cherry pie filling – 2 quarts
Peaches in honey – 14 quarts
Tomato puree – 6 quarts, 9 pints
Diced tomatoes – 15 pints
Green beans – 22 pints, 13 quarts
Vegetable soup – 15 quarts
White potatoes – 14 quarts, 61 pints
Onions - 1 gallon
Carrots - 10 lbs
Jalapenos – 7 pints
Jalapeno relish – 4 half pints
Pickles – 8 quarts, 5 pints
Dilly beans – 7 pints
Beverages (Canned / Corked)
Grape juice (purple) – 13 quarts
Cherry vodka – 3 bottles
When newbie canners ask me for advice, I always tell them to preserve what their family eats. You can tell by my list that we consume a lot of vegetable soup and white potatoes. The quantities you see here might seem high to you, but it won't be enough for 6 months. I'm actually quite curious to see how long it will last. I put up both items last year as well and we ran out before winter was over.
Next summer, I'll make sure I'm either in a position to grow more or either have a larger budget. I would still be fresh preserving right now if our budget wasn't empty. More veggies, to be sure.
A huge change this year is that our diet is plant-based. Last winter, we were omnivores. It will be neat to see how our bodies manage to keep warm without all the meat. I'm seeing lots of starches in our bellies. Hence the 75 jars of potatoes! And I still have more potatoes to dig up from my garden, too.
I'm running about 500 jars in my food storage right now. This summer I spent roughly $500 on fresh produce, plus however many jars, bottles of vinegar, pectin, and spices I went through.
If we were back in Texas, I would have spent at least triple that amount of money and most of it would not have been fresh or local.
I'm quite proud of myself. Funny though. Wish I could have done more, but isn't that always the case?!
If you are fresh preserving for winter, please tag me on Instagram so I can see your stash!
For your viewing pleasure...