Prepare & Put Up!

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 Department 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

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.

Home preservation, canning is rising trend and “mainstream” amongst city dwellers who are searching for something purposeful and tangible in an uncertain world.  As the summer harvest season is upon us we figure it’s high time we revisit and relaunch an old challenge we hosted a few years back.

You’ve taken steps to GROW YOUR OWN, now onto the next phase of the homegrown challenge — extending your garden’s bounty by preserving the harvest.

Preservation Methods



Stockpiling your pantry
Root cellar


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 , etc were harvested, what you preserved that day and even jot down favorite recipes.


If you like to take part in this challenge, post in comment box below.

Participating on the Internet?

Feel free to use the ‘Harvest Keeper Challenge’ image on your blog/site if you are a taking part.

PLEASE REMEMBER when you use this image to “SAVE AS” to avoid using our bandwidth and LINK the image to the challenge here (http://urbanhomestead.org/journal/2010/08/09/put-em-up-harvest-keeper-challenge/ )

And if you are a blogger who already participated in this challenge a few years back, don’t forget to update your links and images!

Spread the preservation movement: share, email, post this challenge – the more people participating the better.

By being a HARVEST KEEPER you are

– Providing nutritious food for your family
– Ensuring food security
– Improving quality of life
– Saving money
– Reducing food miles, fuel & energy dependence
– Reducing waste with excessive packaging

Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

:: Resources ::

Nation Center for Food Preservation

Food Preservation Methods

Preserving your harvest with turn-of-the-century methods

Food Storage FAQ

Canning Guide

Home Canning

Canning Low Acid and High Acid Foods PPT

An Introduction to Home Canning

Quality for Keeps: Preserve Your Garden Delights — How to Can Fresh Vegetables

:: Books & Supplies ::

Art of Canning DVD


Canning Kit w/ utensils with Ball Canning Book

Preservation Supplies

Collection of Preservation Books


  1. Lesa says:

    This year was my first year of serious home canning. I am amazed at how much I have been able to preserve is such a short period of time. Not only are we saving miles of food travel, just think of all the trash we are NOT creating. All that is thrown away in home canned foods is the lid. Everything else is reusable, compostable, and editable.

    • Anais says:

      @Lesa: Yep, canning makes sense. Thanks for sharing your observations.

    • Crystal says:

      @Lesa, You can reuse that lid! Just not for canning again. I use my empty jars and old lids for storing leftovers in my fridge instead of using plastic containers. It’s easy to tell the difference between old and new lids if you mark the old lids with a permanent marker once you remove it from your sealed jar, then you won’t get them mixed up and they don’t have to go to the trash either.

      • Loretta says:

        Wonderful idea to use for leftovers, never thought of that one. I’ll have to start, but I have been recycling them in our recycle bin, so they are at least not going to the landfill.

  2. Ruth G says:

    Last year, in addition to keeping a tally of how much we grew, for the first time I kept a record of how much we “put up” including canning, freezing, dehydrating and root cellar. Although we only raised 217 pounds of food, through bartering, gifts, and foraging, we were able to put up 435.5 pints of food. This year we are cutting back a little on the preserving because we have a lot of some things leftover from last year and we wanted to eat more of the harvest fresh. Having the surplus as a buffer saved us some money this year and is allowing us the joy of eating fresh.

  3. Dog Island Farm says:

    Oh! We have a journal where I keep track of recipes and our livestock but I never thought of keeping track of what we harvested each day. Instead we just enter it into an excel spreadsheet, but it’s just totals and not even broken up by month. I’ll start writing all that down with our upcoming fall crops, which I start today.

  4. Mark says:

    I never understood why canning,and the other preservation techniques were not included with gardening information. But I’m finding what information I can and just jumping into it to see what happens. I can’t wait to try the pickles I canned.

    • Anais says:

      @Mark: Good point. It’s like you grew the stuff now what do you do with it? 😉

  5. Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen) says:

    I’m a harvest keeper! So far this year, I have canned five batches of jam, one batch of tomato sauce, frozen strawberries and blue berries, dried tomatoes, basil, and oregano, and stored potatoes, garlic and shallots in the basement. More berries are waiting to be processed at this very minute!

  6. Lorie says:

    I have been canning, freezing and dehydrating like crazy. I don’t record the harvest amounts like I should. I am keeping track of the amounts I get put up for winter though. My goal is to have 80% of our winter vegetables put up by the end of October.

    This year for the first time I have started drying my homegrown herbs. Can’t wait to have some homegrown herbal tea in the cold winter months!

  7. Dorothy says:

    This is my first year canning and I have to say I’m excited to participate in this challenge with everyone! My plan to can from my garden has been thwarted by rabbits but I’ll be putting up local produce over the next few weeks.

    • Anais says:

      @Dorothy: Good for you! Enjoy and happy canning!

  8. Aubrey says:

    What a coincidence! My monthly challenge on my blog was to make an effort to can food! I have already made 3 types of jam and 2 kinds of pickles this summer. I have frozen a ton of rhubarb (it is coming out of my ears this summer!) Anything canned not from my garden is sourced as locally as possible.

    • Anais says:

      @Aubrey: Welcome aboard and happy preserving!

  9. Jeni says:

    I just posted the challenge on my blog:) I love this challenge! As a rookie on canning I enjoy learning new things and enjoy looking in our cupboards and seeing glass jars of preserved food rather then the metal can..lol So far this year I have canned strawberry and raspberry jam, and did a first batch of dill pickles (I have never pickled before so I sure hope those turn out) we had a pretty cold wet spring this year so I have a feeling come sept. and oct. I will be chained to kitchen canning our harvest.
    I have never thought of keeping track of our eggs or anything like that. I think that is such a great idea so thank you:)

    • Anais says:

      @Jeni: Great, thanks for sharing. Remember to post a link back to your blog! Happy preserving!

  10. Deanna says:

    The pantry is clean, the jars are ready. Cool weather is slowing the garden. May have to resort to the Farmers Market in part this year.

  11. Lidia Seebeck says:

    This year has been very good at Pachappa. Froze peas and beans earlier this year, and now freezing a ton of peaches. Also do a lot of drying, apples, celery leaves, zucchini, tomatoes (LOTS of tomatoes), and a big assortment of herbs.
    I don’t have canning supplies and frankly I get nervous about canning. I have done some fermenting in the past but I need better supplies before we get back into that.

    • Anais says:

      @Lidia Seebeck: I was nervous when I started out too. Figured we all die of botulism or something. Canning’s a piece of cake if you keep to things clean, do the boil and you’re pretty safe when you hear the lids POP!

    • sharliene says:

      @Lidia Seebeck, i thought caning was hard to but is very simple.just takes time. i want to know how to dry tomatoes sounds hard.write me.we just finished 72 quarts of stewed tomatoes. with a few pots ,bowls,and a stem bather.

      • Cherie says:

        I just wash the tomatoes and cut them in 1/2 for Romas, 3/4 inch slices otherwise and dehydrate until leathery, (kind of a stiff leather). I still have some from 3 years ago (last time I dried tomatoes due to bad crops), and they are looking a bit faded compared to this years. It’s nice to have freshly dried tomatoes again.

  12. Kathryn says:

    I have to say that i’m rather bemused at the implication that a “canning business” was encouraged. Only because that would never get anywhere these days. The gov’t would swoop in & state the person didn’t have this permit or that inspections & would hit them with tons of fines.

    Not saying canning shouldn’t be done, just that the gov’t control is so much more these 60+ years later.

  13. Mari says:

    I just started canning and am so excited. Last week I helped some friends can peach preserve and just yesterday I put up 5 cans of pickles made with cucumbers brought to the produce exchange I help coordinate. Can’t wait to put up pasta sauce, tomatoes, and who knows what else. On top of that I’m freezing green beans from the garden and other vegetables that I can’t can at home (no pressure canning for me).

    • Anais says:

      @Mari: Me neither… pressure canner that is! Sticking to the water bath method and freezing too!

      • Crystal says:

        @Anais, Drying is another good alternative for those of us who opt not to do the pressure canner for whatever reasons. The great thing about drying or dehydrating your veggies is you can harness the sun’s energy to do the work for you and then there’s not cost for the storage like there is with freezing veggies. All you need are some airtight containers and a dehydrator (a screen, the sun, and a net to keep bugs out) is all you need.

        • Anais says:

          @Crystal: Thanks for adding that about drying. I love drying – unfortunately the summer here’s been too darn cool to dry anything. Wearing sweaters till about 10 am and then put them back on around 5 pm. I love sun preserves – so delicious and easy to do.

  14. Tamlynn says:

    Here is another good site for all types of food preserving:


    You can look up the type of food you have and get many ways to preserve it in one file.

    Today I made currant jelly and dried apricots. Next week bottled cherries.

    • Anais says:

      @Tamlynn: Thanks for sharing the link. Appreciate your adding to the linky database

  15. Village Veggies says:

    I have been canning like crazy the last couple weeks! I am psyched to say I am a Harvest Keeper. We only have a 20′ x 40′ front yard, but we have preserved a lot so far! 46 quarts, 28 pints, 24 1/2 pints, 12 4 oz jams…not to mention the freezer! We are attempting to be self sufficient this winter and we are off to a good start. Happy Canning Everyone!

    • Anais says:

      @Village Veggies: Good going. Thanks for sharing your canning adventures and welcome to the Harvest Keeper Challenge

  16. Cheryl says:

    Oh Yeah, I love a challenge, especially when it involves something that I truly believe in – being self-sufficient. I grew up on a farm where my parents grew all of our own food, including meat, milk and eggs. Everything was made from scratch. We only went to a grocery store about every two weeks for some staples. Love the challenge. I’m in. So far, I have done my strawberry jam, frozen strawberries for smoothies, frozen corn – but need more. I am ready to do pickles, grape jam, tomatoes and some pies to freeze for the Holidays.

    • Anais says:

      @Cheryl: Welcome Harvest Keeper. Hope you enjoy the challenge!

  17. chuck benson says:

    I wanted to ask if it is still true that in California only “greenhouse
    dehydration” of veggies and fruits can be legally sold to consumers?

    And, is it true that dehyhdration preservation of foods is a completely safe way of preserving foods….. as opposed to “canning” which, if done improperly, could, possibly, result in bochalitis (which we have been told is an, apparently, tasteless poison from poor canning practices that supposedly killed some of my distant “late 1800’s” relatives ( the ancestry story was told to us that they found our entire 19th Century family, after their last supper, one evening….all dead, sitting around the supper table….without even knowing that they had eaten the, naturally, home processed , poisoned canned foods.) This was a family handed down story, and we have no proof of its validity….but, it certainly has scared us when it come to home canning over the years of our lives.

    As a small 5 year old boy, I definitely remember hearing explosions of broken glass jars coming from our west Texas tornado “storm celler” which doubled as a “root celler” for my grandmother’s home canned preserves. Was that the formation of bochalitis (I am not sure if I spelled bochalitis correctly and I do not want to take the time to look it up in my dictionary right now.)

    In our new non-profit ministry design …we are planning to implement a “Tri-level, Organic, Terrarium, Squarecube (T.O.T.S.) garden for “pre-teens” so they can make their own money instead of depending on their parents (sometimes erratic) allowances for their children’s assigned home chores ….like cleaning up their rooms…which, most of the time they do not like to do… or do not even accomplish. However, recently, we have found that 5 to 11 year old children like to plant seeds, water them and watch them grow. So, they are going to become our first T.O.T.S. garden “target demography”….next, we are researching retired elderly persons as possible T.O.T.S. garden enthusiasts.

    We are Christians, so we are trying to find a “perfectly” legal health method of “dehydrating, vacuum packing, and selling small packages of food to their own Church Members… for half the price ….that those Church Members are currently paying for their “poisonously pesticided , “poisonouly preserved” foods that they currently purchase from their local supermarket grocery stores, which may leave the Church Members more money to give to their favorite ministries if they want to really be consistent in helping ministries like ours that want to cut down the number of “starving orphans”, in third world natons, that watch an estimated 2700 orphans die every 24 hours from lack of food and general physical abuse. (this is a World Vision Ministry estimate).

    We would also like to get you opinion of the current “upside down 2 foot by 2 foot, square foot garden. We are designing it into a “tri-level” square foot garden so that we can get 4 times as much food production per square “growing foot” than just a single level 2 x 2 foot square foot garden is able to grow. Our current small 2 x 2 foot upside down garden from the Hammermacher Catalogue, that we bought last year, has yielded a tremendous amount of Roma Tomatoes this summer, and it is still producing, with lettuces… on the top of the second level tub….so we enjoy a nice organic tomato and lettuce sandwich, with mustard dressing, every afternoon. Mustard is very good for the human body according to the latest nutritional information that has been published. But, we also use the commercial produced “veggie” maynonaise which has no possibility of “samonella egg” product in it. As I write this comment, today, the news indicated a 380 million egg “recall”, nationwide, for possible samonella poisoning which indicated that thousands have become sick throughout the U.S.A. and 233 were ill in California this week! Between the lettuce ecoli and the samonella eggs…eating from our own backyards might be a lot safer, these days, based on the frequent commercial food produce “recalls” that have hit the news media these past few years…..and, growing your own organic foods may, certainly, be a lot less hard on the family food budget costs such as “pathtofreedom.com” has proven for 20 years! Congratuations for showing the rest of us how to not be “stuck on stupid” when it comes to showing us how to provide ourselves with personal, home grown, foods.


    Chuck and Margo Benson, Directors of Samaritan Action Ministries, a Federal and State of California legal eleemoysnary tax exempt non-profit.

  18. Lettie says:

    Preservation Methods – Don’t forget about salt curing and smoking! My favorite comfort food in the winter time is smoked ham and beans with cornbread. Meats, vegetables, chesses, and fish can all be smoked. So far, I’m only salt curing lemons, limes, fish and ham. For some reason I have not yet perfected the art of homemade saurkraut! But I’ll get it right one of these days.

  19. Bonnie says:

    Anais, I would love to keep track of everything harvested and put up. Would you give us a peek at your notebook or whatever you use to keep track?

    • Anais says:

      @Bonnie: Oh, it’s nothing spectacular at all. For harvest we have just a plain and simple ol spiral bound notebook that you can get at any store. Every day we turn to a new page, write down the date and put the notebook on the table with the scale that’s sits on the back porch. Produce is weighed before it gets to the kitchen.

  20. Mary K says:

    I stumbled upon your website a week or so ago and I’m still shuffling my way through it. Everything you all are doing is so inspiring and impressive, but I especially thank you for the outreach and education (locally where you are and to the rest of us out here).
    I began growing my own food in earnest last year. I share a large garden with 4 other couples/families in a small, rural area on the eastern slopes of the North Cascades in WA. The summers are short but typically hot and dry (not so much this year), and the winters are long. Putting food away is critical to being able to eat locally year-round. I canned a little here and there over the last 7 years or so, but last year I was forced to learn quickly as we were inundated with bounty. So, I’m definitely taking this “challenge,” with my main goal being to keep track of everything I put away. It’s almost impossible to track everything that comes out of the garden since it is shared, but I can track my share for the most (except for what I eat fresh). I don’t have a blog, but I’ve suggested this site to other friends who blog.
    One thing I would love to have easier/more access to on your website is recipes. Right now, I’m looking for a good basil syrup recipe, and a tomatillo (or green) enchilada sauce recipe. Thanks for all your great work. I’ll keep coming back! ~ Mary in Winthrop, WA

    • Anais says:

      @Mary K: A warm welcome to you, glad you stopped by and are liking what you are seeing. There’s certainly a lot of posts to dig thur (10 years worth) so there are certainly little gems here and there. Wishing you all the best on your journey. Keep us posted and thank you for commenting.

      • Mary K says:


        Hi again. Thanks for the note. I am frantically trying to put food away as summer has come to an abrupt end here (we are already getting frost). I did find a great basil syrup recipe from a friend, but was hoping to find more canning recipes for green tomatoes. I was going to post a note on the Freedom Gardens site, but after signing up and logging in, I could not for the life of me figure out how to post a new topic. Any quick advice? thanks much!

        • Mary K says:

          @Mary K,

          Oh, so sorry to bother you! I guess I figured it out. I had not “verified” my email yet. I’m on-board now!

  21. Gin says:

    I’ve just “canned” in half pint glass jars prox 17 lbs of hormone-free butter in anticipation of storing same on my pantry shelf… only to learn this may not be a safe practice after all. I have more butter in my freezer, but hesitate to “can” more and in fact, wonder if I should keep the 3 dozen jars I already have?

  22. Mary Howell says:

    My husband and I have been harvest keepers for years. We raise chickens for meat and eggs and have a large garden. We also have black walnut and hickory nut trees on our property. We have grapes arbors, bluebery bushes, strawberry bushes, raspberry bushes as well as wild blackberries. We also have planted 100 strawberry plants. In the past we have raised hogs, and beef on our little farm. Right now we have five female pygmy goats one kid and a billy. We hope to be able to sell the kids that we get next year. We have always enjoyed the rural lifestyle and feel very fortunate that we can produce, harvest and preserve a lot of our own food. We use canning, dehydrating, freezing and cold storage for our harvest. We are interested in seed saving as well and am thrilled to have found your webpage. We have a much shorter growing season as we are from West Virginia,but we make the most of the time we have.

Leave a Reply to Anais Cancel reply