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May 6, 2008

BACK TO BASICS: HARVEST KEEPERS

Posted by Anais Dervaes

The Wartime Pantry

During the two world wars, despite the increased availability of canned goods, American women were called upon to put up their own food as part of their patriotic duty. Available tin was used for some commercial canning but most tin was used in the war effort. By this time, hot pack canning was considered the most reliable and, with "two hours from garden to can," the rule to follow. Around World War I, canning clubs were encouraged and fostered by such groups as the Deparment of Home Economics at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Farm women and their teenage children were also encouraged to start canning businesses from their farm homes.

A 1942 article detailed the effort: "This year, American homemakers are canning at home as a patriotic duty, for it is especially important that no food be allowed to go to waste during the summer and fall . . . From the standpoints of family health and economy, the canning of vegetables from Victory Gardens, and homegrown or locally-gathered wild fruits, and also reasonably priced fresh products on the market is one of the homemaker's important contributions to the wartime nutrition program."

Courtesy WHYY

Back to Basics

Back in January PTF kicked off the New Year with the 100 Victory Garden -100 Foot Diet Challenge Are you ready for another?

Across the nation, folks are down on their knees, hands dirty, seeds and trowel clench firming in hand determine to grow their own food Though some crops may fail miserably others crops may step in and take up the slack. With hard work, effort and patience this hearty lot of homegrown soildiers will be blessed up to their eye balls in produce.

So now onto the next phase of the challenge, extending your garden's bounty by preserving the harvest.

Preservation Methods

Canning
Freezing
Drying
Fermenting

Storage

Stockpiling your pantry
Root cellar

Share

Sharing your bounty - trade, barter, exchange with your neighbors.

Tally Ho

Keep track of your preservation and harvest efforts. Tally up how much you've harvested and preserved during the course of the growing season. Recording keep is essential if you want to know how well your growing efforts were for the year.

Start by keeping a daily journal with records on how much eggs, produce were harvested, what you preserved that day and even jot down favorite recipes.

:: Resources ::

Nation Center for Food Preservation
Food Preservation Methods
Preserving your harvest with turn-of-the-century methods
Food Storage FAQ

:: Books & Supplies ::

Ball Home Canning Basics Kit NEW ITEM!
Hanging Food Dryer NEW ITEM!
Food Preservation Helpers
Food Preservation Books

:: Participating ::

If you like to take part in this challenge, post in comment box below. Participating on the internet? Feel free to use the ‘B2B’ icon if you are a taking part (remember to “save as” to not use our bandwidth ) and link to this challenge here

By being a HARVEST KEEPER you are

- Providing nutrious food for your family
- Ensuring food security
- Improving quality of life
- Saving money
- Reducing food miles, fuel & energy dependence
- Reducing excessive packaging and effects of climate change

Enjoy the fruits of your labor!



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98 Comments: "BACK TO BASICS: HARVEST KEEPERS" »

  1. I love to see all the people who are getting involved by canning and preserving farmers market produce! That is what we did last year and it was wonderful. We live in a rented condo right now and do not have a yard. We do, however have a wonderful, large balcony - and are starting to take advantage of that. It has been a joy to see all our seedlings sprout and plants start growing. I'll definately be preserving - though not much of OUR harvest - I'll be preserving the farmers market bounty though!

  2. Today we enjoyed some of our garden's early bounty. For supper, we had chicken that was sauteed in chopped bunching onions, lovage, and spinach from our own yard. The garden has been slow to start, but now the snap peas are flowering, the corn is about 4" high, and the green beans are up about 3" - those that have not been devoured by slugs. We have 12 potato plants, and are waging a battle with the bugs right now. We also have 12 tomato plants - mostly Boxcar Willys and Mortgage Lifters. I lost a lot of Brandywines to a late frost, so have replaced these with nursery stock Beefsteaks. I also lost my Amish Pastes, so hope that the farmers market folks will have some when I'm ready to can later in the summer.

  3. Count me in. I have some expertise in this area. In the past I started with strawberries in May and didn't sit down until the last of the pumpkins seeds were dried in November. Have done saurkraut and dill pickles successfully too, I am happy to say. If I can do it, anybody can!

  4. I'm in!

    I'm in on the 100 ft challenge too and so far, we have success!

    While my garden isn't at the rampant production stage that needs canning yet, I did practice and am using the product.

    Went to a Pick Your Own farm nearby, harvesting 18.76 lbs of strawberries, tray froze some and canned up a low sugar jam with the rest. Delicious with a toasted slice of home-made bread..or pancakes..or waffles...or...

    Christy

  5. Any possibility of a canning tutorial for those of us just starting to do that? (I know that I could probably read the Ball book on the subject.) I have also heard reference to steam canning...are you familiar with it? We won't have enough this year to can our own, but hope to get to the Farmers Market during peak season.

  6. I'm in! I just canned peaches for the first time the other day. I used to can jams and jellies all the time when I lived in CA ... this will be fun.

  7. I'm in! This is my first year gardening and I am looking forward to learning how to can and preserve what I hope will be a nice sized harvest.

  8. Count me in too...so far this season I've canned brandied apricots, strawberry jam and serviceberry jelly. Peas and 'maters will be up next!

  9. I am SO in for this challenge!!! I have planted my first really great garden this year and would love to work to preserve as much as possible, as there will be waste if I don't!!

  10. You can count me and my family in too! We extended our garden this year and will have to do some preserving and sharing if all goes according to plan.

  11. We're in! I just found the Back 2 Basics Challenge graphic on Chas's blog! I'm so excited! We've already harvested herbs, broccoli, lettuce, chard, and spinach. We've got peas (both sugar snap and snow) about ready. Can't wait for the garden to come in full swing!

  12. Count me in! We can, freeze, dehydrate and root cellar our produce and bulk produce from farms every year and this year my challenge is how to do this to preserve the most nutrients because I've been eating a raw vegan diet that is really very healing to my health. I will do more root cellaring, dehydrating at low temps and freezing and very little canning. We are also doing our first fall garden and building a small greenhouse to extend the growing season here in CO.

  13. I've been canning and drying and loving it!

  14. We are officially now IN the Harvest Keepers, dried our first basil and oregano today. I know it wasn't a normal method we used, but it sure worked!!

  15. We're in, harvest is starting to get going and I hope to be canning and drying very soon.

  16. I'm in! I've already frozen my home grown peaches and have dried mint and oregano. The cukes are about to explode, so I'm getting my pickle recipes together. I planted about 20 heirloom tomato plants this year (all from seed - a first for me :-) - only handful of ripe ones yet, but I have a feeling that I'll be doing a whole lotta canning and freezing next month!!!

    I also froze green beans, cherries, peaches, apricots and strawberries from the last few Farmers Markets visits. We'll probably end up buying a chest freezer this year.

    Good book on preserving: The Busy Person's Guide to Preserving Food by Janet Chadwick

  17. I will happily participate in this challenge, though again, I think I might be coming in a little late. We've already got a nice garden going though and I was planning on learning how to do this stuff anyway, might as well participate and encourage others to do so as well!

  18. I'm in!!! I got some canning jars. It's been 6 yrs since I water canned but I'm excited! I'm gonna make blueberry/strawberry jam, homemade pickles, and corn relish to start.

  19. Thank you so much for this challenge! I am excited to get started! It will be nice to see the pantry full at the end of the year when the cupboards might otherwise be bare....

    Just a reminder, too -- your local county cooperative extension agency offers a wealth of information, and sometimes classes, about home preserving. I was fortunate to take a class in "Overcoming Your Fears of Pressure Canning" and am now shopping for a pressure canner!!!

  20. I just saw the link to the site on Mrs Survival and it's soooo inspiring. My garden this year started out in two 4'x4' Square Foot Garden boxes and has now expanded to an additional 16'x16' foot area that has not previously been planted. Only about 1/2 of the new area is actually planted.

    Tonight I'm going to plant some beets, carrots and radishes before the new moon comes on. This weekend I'm going to dig some more trenches and plant a few things for a fall harvest. Spinach, snap peas, chard, and tatsoi will go in as soon as the new moon makes it's appearance. I'm trying to learn more about how the moon affects planting.

    I'm excited to see the 100 Foot challenge. I was already getting our beef, eggs, and milk locally. For several years I had a flock of laying hens. This past spring I gave away my chickens out of frustration because they were not on my property. I now have 6 new chicks and they are here on my land. They should be laying by Christmas. They're a heavy breed and I can usually get them to lay in spite of the day length even without electricity.

    6 weeks ago I went and visited family in California and was able to get strawberries, apricots, and peaches straight from the farm and did some canning. Pie filling and jams. I've been canning for years and just love it!

    My garden currently has: wheatgrass, yellow straightneck squash, heirloom zuchinni squash, butternut squash, pole beans, bush beans, 2 varieties of cucumbers, Sun Jewel melons, cantaloupe, 2 types of sunflowers, tomatoes, basil, oregano.

    As soon as I start harvesting I'm going to weigh it all so I know how productive the garden is.

    This is EXCITING!

  21. I'm in! I've been canning for many years. In June I did jams and pie fillings when I visited family in California. My garden is in and growing. Hoping for a good harvest.

  22. I just posted an update on what we are currently preserving from our garden, the farmer's market, our coop for bulk foods and some great deals on organic produce we've found at the health food store. http://naturedeva.net/?p=196 It feels so good to do this every year and even moreso now with the economy and climate change weirdness happening.

    So glad you do this to bring awareness to so many! Love your site and your blog!

  23. My garden just started to show some promise so I'd like to give this a try. What a great idea! I'm hoping to can more than jams & jellies this year.

  24. I've been preserving for a while but I amped it up this summer. So far we've frozen 88 cups of blueberries, 100 cups of wild blackberries, 30 cups of wild black raspberries, and come sweet corn.

    We have also canned 14 pints of peaches (with more to come), some pickled beets & peppers and as soon as my tomatoes start producing I'm going to be canning tons of those! Yeah! My mom's pear tree is loaded so I'm seeing canned pears & pear butter in my future as well.

    For Christmas we're doing a homemade Christmas and it usually involved some home-canned items!

  25. Just preserved 5 kilos of tomatoes as a delicious tomato sauce. mmm

  26. We are in!

  27. We're in! Tomatoes: sauce, crushed, salsa; peaches: halved, salsa, jam; wild raspberries (foraged from the alley and neighborhood): jam, vinegar, vodka infusion, frozen; pole beans: frozen.

    Our winter goal is to eat completely out of our own pantry and our winter garden. Last year we underestimated and ran out of tomatoes... not this year!! We're canning two cases per week from one of our local farmer friends. Once our own harvest comes in from the backyard, we'll definitely make it through this winter with 90% or better directly from our own pantry.

  28. We are so in..
    Planted 4000 sq feet of garden this year...canning, preserving,freezing, dehydrating is part of my DNA..Trying to fill our pantry for our family of 6...with two older grown children who also reap from mom's canning..
    trying to branch out more and more every year..
    great site you have ...very inspiring.
    Thanks

  29. We had a good size garden this year - 32 by 40 feet with plans to expand it this coming year. We are also looking at planting fruit trees. We are a family of four adults (two college age children) with one of them about to become engaged. So I am trying to feed five adults. We are looking to grow as much as we can to feed our growing family. We are definitely in !!!

  30. 221 mason jars filled through a comination of efforts; bartering, foraging, gleaning, farmer's markets, and our organic garden.
    Utilized non electric methods for food prep along with cooking and canning on a 1900's wood fired laundry stove with gleanned fire wood.

  31. Oooh! I'm in!
    I have a freezer just full of tomatoes. Enough to last until mater season begins. Over the winter I will be using them to can salsa, spiced and diced and sauce.
    I have two fridges (off freecycle, thank you) full of apples (also off freecycle) enough to keep us in eating apples, sauce, pies and apple butter all year.
    I have beans in jars and beans in the freezer and seeds stuck everywhere just waiting for the first workable moments of spring.
    I have a good winter garden going now as well and eat from it often.
    I also have rabbits and chickens in "live storage".
    This is wonderful.. yeah for all of us and all of our hard work!!

  32. Putting an update on our new blog site today! VERY successful harvest this year with LOTS of stored/preserved supplies for the winter. Come on over and check it out!

    talk to you soon...
    The Shibaguyz

  33. Count me in, I've tried to do this for a long time, perhaps this will push me on.

  34. Will you be updating this challenge for 2009?

  35. This sounds interesting. I'd like to join in. I did my first bit of canning yesterday - 4 pints of apple chutney.

  36. I wish to br included in the Back to Basics Harvest Keepers Challenge.

  37. Please include me too! Been keeping a tally so far this year!

  38. Will hope to place a post soon! Thanks and I look forward to learning from you all!

  39. does I get credit if I invade my neighbors homestead and only eat things grown and raised on their farm.

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