Inventory Your Food Preservation

Reader Contribution by Ilene White Freedman and House In The Woods Farm
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People ask me how many jars of tomatoes I preserve by canning. My answer used to be: I can however many cans I can can. That was when I did all I could, never approaching my pantry goals. “As much as possible” was a simple goal. An inventory of my jars and freezer packs didn’t seem necessary.

Then came a year when I made too much pesto for the freezer. I had surplus pesto for the year, but I ran out of canned tomatoes. That was wasted effort. I was inspired to keep a food preservation inventory.

I needed inventory information to focus my efforts. Last year’s numbers would prompt me to stop shredding zucchini when enough is enough and move on to the next crop. But how does one know when enough is enough? With a little documentation on the side of the frig, I collect valuable record-keeping data.

I post a paper on the side of the refrigerator and log tally marks of each product I preserve, whether it goes in the freezer, in the jar pantry, or in the spice drawer. I add notes about needing more or less for the next year– whether I ran out before the next season came around, or if I preserved too many.

I now have a nice to-do list for the growing season. I know how many bags of shredded zucchini and blanched edamame to freeze. How many flats of oregano to dry. How many jars of salsa we used last year and when we ran out.

Ideally, create your preservation inventory as you produce and tuck away products. However, autumn is not too late to gather an inventory of jars and freezer packs, before you start digging in.

To read my other food preservation posts, click the link at the bottom of my bio.

Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods organic CSA farm with her husband, Phil, in Frederick, Maryland. The Freedmans are one of six 2013 MOTHER EARTH NEWS Homesteaders of the Year. Ilene blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life on the farm’s Facebook Page. For more about House in the Woods Farm, go to the House in the Woods website, and read all of Ilene’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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