Planning to Preserve in the Coming Year - Part 2 of 3

By putting up more food I will reduce the miles our food travels, I’ll know exactly where the food came from and what’s in it. This will contribute to a lower food budget and a healthier diet. All good things right? And it's easy.  I usually put up what I want as the season progresses. I wind up with four times as many pickles as we can eat and not enough tomato sauce. This year I'm making a plan. 

I have broken my plan to preserve into several parts:
  1. Decide what we would actually eat by looking at my notes from what we put up last year and what we would have used if we had it
  2. Calculate quantities that we would conceivably consume in a year’s time
  3. Check and see that we have the capacity to can, freeze or store all this bounty
  4. Make a chronological list of when these foods are ready to preserve
  5. Put it all together and make a calendar of foods with their quantities and check it every couple weeks as the season progresses to make sure I’m on track

In the first part of Planning to Preserve I went into detail into for steps 1 and 2. I considered what I put up last year and what I want to put up this year.  The second part is steps 3 and 4. The third part is now up covering the last step. 

Step 3: Do we actually have the number of canning jars, freezer and cupboard space to hold all this bounty?

Here’s what I calculate I’ll need to hold all this stuff:
69 Quart Freezer Boxes or Bags (6+5+3+15+6+6+12+6+6+4 = 69)
35 Pint Jars (34+8+1 = 43)
26 Quart Jars (12+8+6 = 26)
Dry storage for 16 squash, 24 heads of garlic
Here’s what I’ve got on hand:
Freezer boxes 6 pints, 2 quarts
17 pint jars
2 half pint or jelly jars (I always give away the small jars it seems!)
18 quart jars

I’m going to need more jars.  I don’t think I've ever put up this much food plan or no plan. Looks like I will need to be watching garage sales, thrift stores and church sales for canning supplies. Canning jars generally run about $1 a jar new; if I can find any for less it's a good deal.  Granted, when facing a bushel of apples I'm willing to go purchase at full price. 

I’ll need to acquire:
49 quart freezer bags (for the dehydrated food and pesto I prefer freezer bags and for the fruit and corn I like the plastic freezer boxes)
15 quart freezer boxes
21 pint jars
14 half pint jelly jars
8 quart jars
 Step 4: Make a chronological list of when these foods are ready to preserve.

There is a chart in the back of my Ball Blue Book of Canning that shows when to expect fruits and vegetables to be peak season. I used that plus my own notes and the lids of cans (I always write the date) to create this list below. This is for the Midwest specifically north east Indiana.

May: Beets, Kale
June: Beets, Strawberries, Blue Berries, Peaches
July: Cucumber, Corn, Apples, Cherries, Cherry Tomatoes, Peaches
August: Cucumber, Corn, Apples, All Tomatoes, Herbs, Wild Grapes
September: Beets, Corn, Apples, All Tomatoes, Kale, Herbs
October: Beets, All Tomatoes, Kale, Winter Squash
November: Beets, Winter Squash
I'm getting closer to finishing the plan.  One more step to put it all together; that will be in Part 3 of Planning to Preserve which will go up later this week. 

How's your plan to preserve shaping up?

This post was featured on Simple Lives Thursday


  1. I don't have a plan anything like as detailed as yours but the last couple of summers I have made lots of jams with seasonal fruits, some chutnies and last summer I made preserved peaches in brandy and cherries in port. Both are delicious. Sadly I don't grow them myself, just buy locally when fruit is in season. I plan on doing more preserving this summer. Good luck!!

  2. Your planning is impeccable. Not only will you save money, but you will reduce your carbon footprint (all the while inspiring us to do the same). Kudos!

  3. Great Blog. Good Luck!

  4. Wow! I love this...I'm so impressed. I've always been so intimidated by this process, but you make it sound easy.

  5. This sounds so great, I am looking forward to part 3.

  6. That sounds great, still unsure of my plan yet for this year. Last year was salsa, year before was preserves, jelly, butters, oh too many to list. Good luck!

  7. Anonymous1/19/2012

    Hi there, I am one of your (many) foodie friends on FoodBuzz. I took the liberty of nominating you for the 7x7 blog award. See the details here: http://comeduemaiali.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/7-x-7-link-award-two-pigs-spill-the-beans/
    Natasha @ Come Due Maiali

    1. Thanks! I feel like one of the cool kids!

  8. Love the idea of making a list of foods by month. Genius (again)! I freeze my pesto in ice cube trays, freeze them solid, and then pop them into a freezer bag. They are great to throw in pasta and soups in the winter! I can't wait for part three and I hope you update us!

  9. nice planning.it helps you save time.i do hope i was an efficient planner as you are.nice blog.

  10. i can't even read this post. too much work! i say, pick whatever's ripe and put it up in the way best suited for it. and try to make it last!
    sorry, not real scientific. ;)

  11. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful information with us.

  12. This is one of the best blog sites I've seen so far. Hope to see more posts from you. Thank you.

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. Anonymous11/05/2012

    Actually i was looking for this type of information over the internet and finally got here. Thanks for giving these helpful tips..

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  15. I don't know if you have a Goodwill store in your area, but ours often has canning jars - especially out of season. My last purchase was 11 quart jars, 2 pint jars, and 7 half-pint jars boxed up together for $4.99. Good luck.