Monday, May 24, 2010

My Journal

I've always wanted to keep a journal and I've made numerous attempts at it over the course of my life.  I've failed every time.  The one journal that I have successfully kept up with since 2003 is my Canning Journal.  It's more than just a canning journal.  It includes what we've froze, dehydrated, phone numbers of orchards, lists of bushels bought from where and at what price, notes about what foods not to can again, etc.

It's supposed to look like denim.  How cool is that?

This is how it flows.  Starting in 2003, I listed what we put up.  As we moved from dabbling in preserving to counting on it as a major food source, the flow began to also include what we had left over in the spring so I could get a handle on what we had a surplus of and therefore what I wouldn't need to put up as much of that summer.  You follow?

This time of year, I draft my list of what I want/need to put up during the coming summer.  Not only does it include the items, but the goal amount of each item.  I come up with these specifics by determining how much of each item we went through the year before (spring to spring).

 A section of 2008's tally

For example, in the spring of 2009, we had 10 quarts of tomato sauce left in the pantry from the summer of 2008.  We went on to can 21 quarts during the summer of 2009.  We have only a couple quarts left (except for the 6 pints of sauce I bartered with a friend for).  This means we went through about 30 quarts spring 2009 to spring 2010.  That means, I need to put up at least 30 quarts- most certainly more than 30- to get us to next spring.

These calculations give me a idea of what to shoot for.  But shooting doesn't always make it happen.  We froze 21 quarts of crushed strawberries last year and by the looks of our strawberry bed this year, we aren't going to get anywhere near that amount.  So, I adjust as we go.  Less strawberries means we need to pick more blueberries and so on.

One calculation that about gave me a heart attack was that we went through (ate!) 48 jars of jam (mostly half pint sizes).  Granted, I give jam away as thank-you and hostess gifts, use it to flavor yogurt, etc, but still.  48 jars!  (THAT, my friends, is going to change.)  Since strawberries are a bit scarce this year, I will not be making strawberry jam- I will be crushing and freezing what we don't eat fresh.  And, instead, I will can more grape jam. Our kind neighbors let us pick as many as we want from their over-abundant vines.

The moral of this story:  Keep a canning journal.  Don't freak out.  Adapt. Pin It


  1. We have a ton of jam & tomato sauce left over from last year as well... oh well... less work this year! I do need to freeze more blueberries and strawberries though... I can't believe summer is almost here... yeah for garden fresh fruit/veggies!

  2. Keeping a canning journal is such a great idea & you may have convinced me that I need to do one this year. I don't can & freeze nearly as much as you do. But, I have found myself trying to remember how we did things previous years, and memory almost always fails. For instance, we made & canned applesauce this year with apples from a nearby orchard. We used 3 different varieties and the sauce was so delicious. But, I can't remember which varieties we used!

    Keeping track of what gets used is great as well. For some reason our canned yellow cherries just don't get used as much. But, I wish I knew how many we put up each year so I have a better sense of what we're really consuming.

  3. I know this is necessary for survival, but I am in awe of your organizational efficiency with this!

  4. I may have to keep a canning journal this year. I with some help of others taught myself to can last year but only canned pickles and green beans. This year I have Planted 4 and plan to can many things the journal is a great idea!

  5. WOW, that is seriously AMAZING! I find great hope in the fact that you and your husband have created this self-sufficient life one step at a time over the last 5 or so years. Thanks for your great example and for sharing it all with us.

  6. Admirable...impressive...inspirational. Can I move next door to you? Please?

  7. Your blog is a great journal, too. You are delightful.

  8. how amazing - I keep a canning journal the exact same way! I don't can/freeze nearly as much as you do because we are city dwellers who rely on our farmer's market. I agree that it's a huge helper to have that journal - I can track prices and remember suppliers without taking up valuable brain space for that!
    I haven't blogged about my canning journal yet, but I'm planning to because the strawberries are in and I'm going to start taking inventory and gearing up for season 2010.

  9. WWOOWW!! I have canning envy!! Please post pictures of your canning/freezing process (storage) for this year!! What a blessing you are to your family!! XXOO

  10. Great idea! You are such an inspiration and I just love your blog! I am going to try and do the same thing this year. It is nice to know just exactly how much food you really need to put up:0).

  11. Your organization is astoudning, it really is inspiring.

    BTW, I hope you don't mind but I awarded you with the "versatille blogger" award!


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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