As I write this post, there are still three inches of snow on the ground from our last snow/ice storm. But! According to the weather folks, temperatures will soar into the 60's this weekend. Will this be the last we'll see of snow this year?
We've had more nice-sized snow events this year than I can remember and I've loved every single one. While I also adore spring, spring means work and work goes much smoother around here with planning.
Just the other day, I spent a while shut-up in our cool pantry reorganizing the jars (bringing the full ones to the front and shifting the empties to the back). This gave me a good idea of what still needs using and what I need to not use as fast. It also helps me think about adjustments I want to make for next year. But before I can start planning for 2014, I need to wrap up 2013 and tally our totals for the record- a task that escaped me in the fall.
If you haven't designated a simple, cheap notebook as your canning/preserving journal, do so now. You likely won't have time when you're knee deep in green beans.
2013 Harvest Tally (all grown by us unless otherwise noted)
23 pints snow peas, froze
7 1/2 quarts, crushed and froze, and 1 pint, dried, strawberries
2 1/2 pints mulberries, froze
2 pints sour cherries, froze (tree was damaged from a wind storm, very few cherries on)
2 quarts mixed berries (mulberries, black and red raspberries), froze
12 quarts green beans, froze
8 3/4 quarts blueberries, froze, from my Great Uncle's farm (we ate handfuls of our blueberries but not enough to freeze)
1 quart wineberries, froze
15 loaves zucchini bread, froze
27 quarts corn, froze (ours) and 28 (3-cup bags) corn, froze (from Jamey's parents)
2 cups pesto, froze
5 gallon bags New Zealand spinach, froze
10 pints red raspberries, froze
1 pint and 6 (2 1/2-cup) containers beet hummus, froze
2 1/2 gallon bags bell peppers, froze
25 pints chopped/stewed tomatoes, canned
22 quarts peaches from a local orchard, canned
69 pints and 5 quarts tomato sauce, canned
8 pints salsa, canned
18 quarts tomato soup, canned
19 quarts pears, canned
5 jelly jars apple pie jam, canned
10 quarts chopped broccoli from an Amish road stand, froze
165 quarts applesauce, canned with Tattler Reusable Lids (our first experience)
4 (2 1/2-cup) bags ground cherries from my parents, froze
1 1/2 pints Shittake mushrooms, dried
Some things to note:
~ I put up very little jam because we still have a lot from years past. We're eating less jam as we're replacing it with local honey.
~ I still had pesto and bell peppers left from last year, so I preserved less.
~ I came into possession of a lovely used pressure canner (thanks to a reader, no less!!) so next year, we hope to freeze less of certain veggies and can more.
~ Our pears are very tart and I made the mistake of using the same strength syrup for them as I did as when I canned peaches. The kids don't like them as much because they're a bit sour, so I've been using them in pear-based desserts.
~ Our two sweet cherry trees produced about 5 cherries, which the birds promptly ate. Maybe this year, I'll get the nets on so we can eat them instead.
~ We were very happy with the New Zealand spinach and will be growing it again/letting it come up (we hear it re-seeds itself).
~ Less is more- not in quantity but in the number of kinds of things put up. The more experienced in this I become coupled with the busy-ness of life means less smaller, just-for-fun projects and more effort focused on putting up large amounts of what we eat a lot of.
Jamey and I are going out to dinner (just the two of us) this weekend and will be taking our garden and canning journals along. This will be a working dinner as we plan for the coming year's garden and projects.
It's time to shake the snow off our boots and gear up for spring and summer!