14 October 2010

Living off of food storage: addicted to canning

Have you ever felt addicted to canning?

Two years ago, I had the sudden urge to fill the shelves. We -my mother, two sisters and I- canned over 700 jars of everything. Jams, currant syrup, beets, tomatoes, soup, salsa, chili sauce, apples, applesauce, spaghetti sauce, peaches, pears, raspberries, apricots. We kept finding new recipes to try. Green tomatoes were used in relish, taco sauce and jam. We filled everyone's shelves, passing the goods between my brother, my four sisters, my mother and even my grandma.

Last year was the same. We did over 900 jars. People in the area started bringing us all their old, unused jars because we were begging for them. I felt kind of silly overstocking like that. It's not like we needed 50 jars of spaghetti sauce. I couldn't explain it though, I just had to fill those jars. Then I started to get an idea of why I felt so inspired to can.

Around this time last year, it became apparent to us that we were going to have to move in order for my husband to finish his degree at a university. That meant leaving the cheap rent of my parent's place and finding an apartment that could fit our family. It also meant that our income would be very small, if anything. We tried to save up money, but hubby's hours were unreliable and we were expecting our third child. Seeing that money was going to be short, I decided to store up as much food as possible and live off of that storage for the coming school year.

This year, with the move and getting settled, I didn't really can anything. I just didn't have the time or the tools. My shelves are still full though. There were still plenty of canned goods for us to bring with us as part of our year supply. I don't know if those years of canning will get us all the way through school, but they should get us through this year at least.

Now we've started living off of that supply, and the experiment has begun. The canned goods are just a part of our storage, but I think I've written enough to bore you for one post.
I'll write more about our preparations for surviving college tomorrow... or maybe Monday. There's no school tomorrow, so my schedule will be shot.


  1. I think the need for canning (preserving) is built into women, it's the need to see that our children are fed. I used to go the whole route too, gives a person a great feeling of satisfaction and pride. The added thing is you KNOW what's in it! Pure wholesome food!
    I wish you good luck in making your supply last, just don't eat all the peaches at once! LOL!

  2. That's a lot of jars! And a lot of work too, I might add. I canned tomatoes for the first time this year and my goodness, you sure don't get much compared to when you start versus when you're finished but it's still worth it. Stacking those jars in the basement, knowing what's in them and the satisfaction of being self sufficient is amazing. Kudos to you and I'm looking forward to further posts!

    Happy weekend!

  3. That's a lot of work, way to go! I don't have room to store food, so we can't do that yet. I sure want to though! Where'd you get the food you canned?

  4. We buy from u-pick places about an hour away. I'm working on being able to grow what we eat, but that's kind of on hold for now.