Home canning of vegetables and fruits, along with drying culinary herbs and freezing produce are all excellent ways of assuring that your family reap the rewards of your home grown produce throughout the year. This web site will be devoted to the different methods of home canning, drying, freezing and storing your garden vegetables to extend the enjoyment of your garden harvest.
My goal is to guide you through the different methods for preserving each herb, fruit or vegetable to give you options to suit your specific needs.
Whether you grow your vegetables at home, are a member of a farm co-operative or frequently shop farmer's markets, knowing how to preserve the bountiful harvest of the summer will help you decide which fruits and vegetables to buy and grow, and, how to store them through the cold winter months ahead.
Some of my earliest memories were of "helping" my parents, as a very young girl, make chow chow, pickles and many other home canned products, including muscadine jelly, spending many a lazy, hot summer afternoon in the deep south picking muscadines (a wild grape that grew on the river banks where I lived) and taking them home to make jelly for the season. Putting food away for the winter has always been a part of my life, and, now, I would like to share the knowledge that I have acquired through a long, happy life to help you serve the most wholesome food possible to your family.
Being able to garden is a wonderful hobby that will stay with you throughout your life. To me there is nothing more satisfying than planting a seed and watching and caring for it until it bears fruit. There is no endeavor more appropriate to family activities than gardening, bringing together the wonder of God and nature with the wonderment and enthusiasm of children. One of the very best lessons that you can teach your children is where their actually food comes from!
The benefits of preserving your own foods are as numerous as the reasons you chose to grow your garden. You want to present the most wholesome fruits and vegetables to your family, and, by taking charge of how you grow your garden, you know that the harvest is fresh and chemical free. You will know all of the ingredients used to produce the pickles, salsas, jams and other canned goods and when they were harvested and made to assure that you can enjoy the benefits of nutritional meals throughout the season.
With studies worldwide warning the hazards of PBAs and Phthalates in the plastic packaging in everything from baby and water bottles to children's toys, insect repellents and garden hoses, many people are beginning to rethink food packaging. In some European countries, the products containing these chemicals have been banned and only glass containers which can be refilled and recycled are used. Now, if the rest of the world would follow suit, we would be in business! The packaging for the storage of your harvest will be controlled by you. Since most of the equipment and materials used to package and store your food products are reusable and renewable, you will produce less waste headed for the land fill or the recycle center.
Everyday there seems to be a report linking some kind of illness to some form of food additive or the improper handling of a food product, resulting in contamination and recalls of products throughout the United States, and, I am sure, abroad.
Whenever possible, always choose heirloom seeds. The biggest advantage to heirloom vegetables, fruits, and herbs is that they have not been genetically altered and are the oldest varieties of the vegetable represented. Studies have shown that genetic engineering changes the vitamin and mineral content of many vegetables. The seed are not true to the plant, meaning that if you save the seeds to plant next year, you MAY get a true plant, but, then again, you may not. And, if you do save these seeds and plant them, if the company that has the patent on them finds out, they might bring a law suit against you for infringement of trademark! Sometimes the seeds revert back to the plant that was crossed to produce the "variety" and will not produce the same "variety" again. Heirloom seeds, on the other hand, can be saved and planted each year because the seeds are true to the plant, producing the same variety of plant each time the seeds are saved and planted.