Canning, Pickling, and Dehydrating!

HomesteaderWife

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Since I am a bit newer here on BYH, I wanted to ask and see how many others here are into canning, pickling, or dehydrating food. Many of my family members used to can, but I finally got into hot water bath canning this year. It's been a great experience, and it is so rewarding to be able to use all the things that you've made. Now that we finally have chickens, I just made a dozen spicey pickled eggs last night for my husband as well.

We have jalapeños, pepper sauce, blueberry jam, and tabasco sauce canned. I dehydrated this year's habaneros and have them in a shakes to season food with. And late season okra we didn't cook is now bagged and in the freezer.

(I have to take a moment to stop and laugh as two hens play "Queen of the Hill" and try to get as high as they can over one another, fluffing up and trying to see who is boss)

I would really like to talk to anyone who stores up their foods like this, because I've learned what I have by asking questions and talking to experienced folks. Please share what you've put up this year, any tips or tricks, and just have a good chat. BYH and BYC both have been great groups of people, and I thank you for all the kindness here!
 

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Ferguson K

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Yum! We can/pot a lot of meat. Limited on freezer space. I wish I could do veggies!
 

babsbag

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I didn't can much this year. Peaches and all things peach, fruit cocktail, and tomatoes are all I did this year. Life has been just too busy. I have not ventured into pressure canning, only water bath. I do dry onions, beef jerky, persimmons, and tomatoes (Just reminded me, I need to do the tomatoes still for my cheese next year). I usually freeze corn and butternut squash but didn't even do that this year. Building a dairy is pretty time consuming so I am a little off my game.

I might still do applesauce.
 

mcjam

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After 25 years of homesteading, we have finally gotten to the point where we only go to the grocery store for toilet paper and ingredients to make our own cleaning, laundry and health/hygiene products. Step by step, loving the learning all the way. We grow our own meats, dairy, eggs and veggies. I do purchase spelt berries for flour, and dry beans and grains in bulk. It is indeed a wonderful feeling this time of year when the freezers, pantry, and canning room are full.

More specifically, this year
Canned:
40 quarts lacto-picked cucumbers
12 quarts lacto-sauer kraut (so far, planning at least another 35 when cabbages are ready)
15 pints lacto-kohlrabi
20 pints salsa
35 quarts tomato chunks
14 quarts tomato sauce
18 half pints tomato paste
25 quarts apple sauce (so far)
100 quarts peaches
35 quarts pear slices
21 pints pear sauce
40 half pints assorted jams
14 quarts blueberries
50 pints sweet corn
18 pints chicken broth

Frozen:
30 quart bags blueberries
2 gallon bags wild and domestic raspberries
2 gallon bags sweet cherries
8 quart bags canteloupe
10 gallon bags summer squash (zucchini and trumpet)
3 gallon bags chunked yellow summer squash
20 quart bags sweet corn
4 gallons corn on the cob
10 gallon bags kale
6 gallon bags (5lb each) green beans
4 gallon bags broccoli
6 quarts bags swiss chard so far
40 chickens including hearts, livers, necks and feet (for broth)
13 ducks and parts

Dehydrated:
2 bushels pears = 4 gallon bags
2 gallon bags parsley
3 quarts dill weed
1 quart sage
1 gallon basil
will do apple slices yet

Butchering time is coming. Up on deck waiting for cold weather:
1 beef steer
1 hog
1 turkey
2 geese
12 old laying hens to be canned for soup (once the young pullets start laying)

Still in the garden, waiting for frost:
Winter squash, Acorn, butternut, delicatta, carnival, Musque de Province, crookneck, Rouge Vif d'Etampes, and what looks like hubbard, but not sure.
popcorn
brussels sprouts
leeks

Root cellar storage:
4 bushels assorted potatoes
1 bushel onions
200 bulbs garlic
1/4 bushel beets
Carrots still in the garden

Not to mention over 20 varieties of hard, soft, and blue cheeses in various stages of ripeness in the "cheese cave" refrigerator down basement, and unlimited milk, yogurt, kefir and ice cream.

WOW! writing it all out makes me tired just thinking of all the work we did, but step by step, it really is not unpleasant. I am convinced, however, that it is much more enjoyable puttering in the garden and kitchen, than having to go to some mundane job, just to earn the money to pay for the food, if even food of this quality were available for purchase, which I doubt.

Good luck and keep on going, step by step. Homesteading has its ups and downs for sure, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
 

norseofcourse

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@mcjam - WOW!!!

Do you use a dehydrator to dry the apple and pear slices?

I eventually want to learn to can and preserve more of my own food.
 

babsbag

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@mcjam :th I would take my hat to you too but there isn't an icon for that. :)

Is the cheese from cow milk or goat?
 

mcjam

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@mcjam - WOW!!!

Do you use a dehydrator to dry the apple and pear slices?

I eventually want to learn to can and preserve more of my own food.

Yes, I have a 25 year old Excalibur dehydrator (which I bought new) and it gets quite the workout several times each year.
 

mcjam

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@mcjam :th I would take my hat to you too but there isn't an icon for that. :)

Is the cheese from cow milk or goat?

Cow. We have three family milch cows which are my two eldest daughter's responsibility. They milk them twice each day, with most of the milk going to feed our 2 pigs and the poultry. They are the cheese makers here, and if I may paraphrase Monty Python, "Blessed are the Parents of cheese makers!"

It is truly a family effort to get all the food grown, harvested and stored and then eaten!. My husband and I have 5 daughters ranging in age from 19 down to 5 and they all are important assets to the homestead, each doing their part to make it all run smoothly. We like to say that we are poor as church mice but eat and live better than kings!
 
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