Planning to Preserve in the Coming Year - Part 3 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.  This is the final part step 5. 

Step 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.

I decided to put all the information together in a spread sheet that I can keep on my refrigerator.  Then as the summer progress I will be able to make adjustments and save additional notes on my computer.  I've got lots of ideas brewing over on my "How does your garden (and pantry) grow" board on Pinterest too. 

(Click to see the full size)

I'm feeling really good about this plan.  It is ambitious, I'll admit.  It's more of an "if I had my druthers" this is what I'd put up.  We'll see if it all happens. 

I'm also seriously considering buying a deep freeze.  Between the freezing more produce and saving breast milk, I think it could be a good investment.  I've also read several good articles on why to go the chest freezer route for energy consumption and managing a stable temperature. 

I can't wait to share my next post with you.  It's going to be on an organic family farm I visiting this week.  On just 1.5 acres of land one man with the help of his 80 year old parents, wife and children produce enough food for themselves, as well as food for the local elementary school, all the folks who drop by and two restaurants.  He's getting year round produce from three plastic hoop house style green houses and multiple cold frames.  All in the Midwest (zone 5).  There are some innovative ideas being used.  I'm secretly hoping they'll adopt me and teach me everything they know.  I'll share with you what I saw and learned when I visited.  Stay tuned! 

Planning to Preserve Check In - Mid August 2012
Planning to Preserve - End of the Season Update 2012

And then from years later here's how I'm doing:
Planning to Preserve 2014
Putting by the Harvest 2015
Annual Report on the Vegetable Garden and Harvest 2017

This post is on Simple Lives Tuesday.  You should check it out. It's a neat blog hop. And if you came the blog hop, you already know what I am talking about. 


  1. I came by to return the blog visit and thank you for the comment on mine. What a great series of posts here! Good information and well thought out.

    I have to say that I debated for a long time about buying a deep freeze. I bought a small chest model and have never regretted the decision. I use it mostly for chicken, milk, eggs, cheese (I made and froze a year's supply of mozzarella), grains (because we have so much trouble with pantry moths), and blueberries (we like them frozen better than dehydrated. The hardest part is keeping track of where stuff is. :)

  2. 100 lbs of tomatoes? That really sounds like a lot, but with canning salsa, tomato sauce, pasta sauce, etc., that sounds about right. I really enjoyed these past posts.

  3. Great series! Thanks for the nudge to get on my planning; I'm getting ready to start seedlings in the next month, so this is a good time to think about what to get ready for.
    We love our deep freezers; we have both a small chest freezer and an upright. We bought the smalles sizes available and they've been great. The chest freezer is full of local beef (1/8), chicken and pork (1/2) and the upright is all the berries, fruit and veg (kale, chard, whole tomatoes), plus any extras like bulk cheese, nuts, grains, bread, tortillas and butter etc. that doesn't fit in the other one. I can like mad too, with shelves full of tomato sauce, jams, salsa, applesauce, kraut, dilly beans etc. as well. It's nice to go down to the larder and pull dinner together and less trips to the store, mean less mileage and less change of impulse buying.

  4. I'm planning to get back into canning again this spring and summer. When I was growing up on the farm, my Mom canned everything in sight. We froze a bit, too, and had a cool area of the basement that we used as a root cellar. So I learned quite a bit from her. But I need start small and rebuild my skills.
    I admire your planning skills, and will be following along for inspiration!

  5. love your plan - brilliant (& delicious) ;-)

  6. Thanks for the comment on my blog! And I really like yours ~ I'll have to explore some more. I love the ideas of how to plan for what you want to preserve this summer. I need to do the same!

    Have a good weekend!

  7. Far out! That is some hard core planning! Looks like you will be having some fun! Enjoy!

  8. Such great planning! I'm taking baby steps, we've got a deep freezer now, and I've started a garden, so that something!

    I would love for you to come share this post on my link-up, Make-ahead Mondays, at Raising Isabella!


    Hope to see you there!

  9. Anonymous2/08/2012

    This is such a great idea, but Im awful at organizing and planning, I do wait for the spring to come to start some gardening and I feel its a shame I don't have a space to store food. Always wanted to do so. Hope it works out well for you!

  10. If all goes as planned with my garden, this year, I will put up a ton of food. I haven't had a great garden in a few years, so I have a great feeling about my garden this year. Your plan is nice. I need so much more to feed my hungry family of 6. It's a little daunting! I'm adding your blog to my read list! Have a great weekend. :-)

  11. What an excellent series. Well written and helpful, especially I think for those trying to get started in food preservation; it's a daunting prospect!

    I came to the same conclusion about a deep freeze. I've been very happy with mine, though now it seems to small, LOL. Still, there are some things that can't be canned or dehydrated, and the freezer serves very well for that.