Have Fresh Food Throughout the Year

Learn the best tips for drying, freezing and canning food, including a list of the methods that are most suitable for preserving different kinds of food.

| March/April 1970

  • Inventory
    Carolyn Robinson takes inventory of the foods she has canned.
    Photo by Ed Robinson
  • Root cellar
    An easy blueprint for an effective root cellar.
    Illustration by MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Dehydrator
    A blueprint for a dehydrator, which is a useful method for preserving fruit and other varieties of produce.
    Illustration by MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Pressure cooker
    The mechanics of a pressure cooker, which is the best way to can foods at home.
    Illustration by MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

  • Inventory
  • Root cellar
  • Dehydrator
  • Pressure cooker

This is probably the part of my family's homesteading plan that gives my husband and me the most satisfaction of all, preserving food in various ways so that we "live off the fat of the land" all year round.

Food preservation also has very practical compensations. Vegetables cleaned and prepared in the summer or fall save hours of shopping and of preparation in the kitchen during months to come. Furthermore, home-preserved food costs less. For example, our home-preserved tomatoes cost us about 5 cents per quart.

Folks today are lucky to have two wonderful modern ways of conserving food: quick freezing and pressure canning, besides that dependable old stand-by, the root cellar. One obvious rule applies to them all: Use only the best of your fruits and vegetables, those just ripe and free from blemishes. If you take tough old string beans and freeze or can them, you're still going to have tough old beans. At first it hurts to throw away even one bean you've raised. But it isn't long before you realize you have plenty of the best and you can afford to give the few tough ones to the pigs or chickens.

If you want to keep your preserving to a minimum, enjoy your food to the fullest extent while it is at the height of its season instead of trying to have something different every day of the week. We certainly do not get tired of eating sweet corn nearly every day for weeks when it comes fresh from our own garden.

To show you how we have a lot of variety in our home-grown food with the least effort, here is a list of foods we emphasized, each in season. We don't claim we ate only these items at these times, but we used them primarily and supplement our home-grown list with things we don't grow, such as seafood and beef.

What to Eat in the Summer 

Fresh garden vegetables, such as tomatoes, peas, string beans, lima beans, beets, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, summer squash, egg-plant, new potatoes, etc. Also include fresh fruits, such as raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc. There should also be broilers, roasters and rabbit in addition to all kinds of frozen meat from winter killing. There will also be plenty of milk, butter, cottage cheese and eggs.



February 15-16, 2020
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