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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    1,235

    Default Partial Homesteading?

    I don't know if that's what you'd call what I'd like to accomplish.

    I want to grow a few things in the garden: namely strawberries and small peppers - but I don't have space to designate them to, as my hubby is a bit possessive over the grass space. I'd like to know where I can find/buy fruit crates of a reasonable size to plant my "crops" in.

    I've started making most things from scratch...in terms of edibles, bath products (like soap, shampoo, bath bombs, scrubs, lotions, etc.) candles and makeup. But I'd like to make some 'detangler'...and need marshmallow root. Anyone know where to find some locally?

    I'd like to get into canning, but with only three of us in the house and a fear of not using my preserves within a year...I'm afraid to start. I'm sure I can find most of my supplies/tools at Value Village but I'm looking for guidance as to where to find smaller recipes (or how to cut them down appropriately).

    Thanks in advance
    Mama to Smookie (Feb 2009)
    -----------------------------------
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Highland Hills mall area
    Posts
    4,733

    Default

    I wonder if you can use those upside down hanging basket things for pepper plants? Ya know, the ones they use for tomatoes? Peppers might be too heavy though...Hmmm I know you can use them for strawberries though, any hanging basket really does well for strawberries, if you have a place to hang them from, they wouldn't take up any grass real estate.

    I just bought a lot of larger flower pots a few yrs ago (plastic) on clearance at the end of the season and thats what I have for my peppers and my tomatoes this year. I put some chives in a hanging decorative thing on my fence by my deck.

    For the canning, I've never heard of anyone saying they had too much, after they've done it, usually the opposite to be honest! And if you do find that you have done more than you will need, slap a pretty label and ribbon on it and give away as gifts. People LOVE that stuff. Good luck! I admire anyone who cans and preserves things. I want to, but the whole thing scares me! (the amount of work involved esp.) I wish I had paid more attention to grandma when we helped her do it when we were kids.
    Rachel, mama of 3 BOYS C (9/14/98), Z (9/8/06), E (5/10/08)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    567

    Default

    There are a few books that give recipes for small batch preserving.
    Here's one
    http://www.amazon.ca/The-Complete-Bo.../dp/1554072565

    I guess it depends on what you want to make.
    You can only do a small batch of jam at a time (you can't double it or it doesn't cook properly). Most batches make about 6-8 250ml jars and call for roughly 4 cups of crushed fruit so you can easily make a couple of batches of different kinds of jam that will last you for the year.

    Same with relishes, chutneys, jellies, etc. You can't really double the recipe so you can just make one batch.

    A bushel of tomatoes will get you about 20-24 1L jars of tomatoes canned in water with vinegar. You could make smaller jars if you only use tomatoes in smaller quantities (ie to add to chili etc).
    We can 150 L of tomatoes a year and I use them in lots of soups, stews, chilis, recipes like sausage and peppers, and I make salsa with them.

    Pickles you could just do a 7L basket and can them in whatever size works for you .
    Same with peaches. They just get canned in a light syrup so you can just can what you would use.

    Start small your first year with things that you normally use and see how it goes. I started making jam a few years ago and now I can most of our jams, relishes, pickles, tomatoes, peaches, apples, pears and a few batches or fun stuff for gifts.
    Honestly, once you taste home canned tomatoes, you won't go back.
    hth
    Peace is not something you wish for; it's something you make, something you do, something you are, something you give away.
    ~ Robert Fulghum

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,235

    Default

    Thanks Karen!
    we LOVE strawberry jam, and go through alot througout the year...so that alone would make the canning worth it - especially when I'm paying almost $4/jar of Smuckers Seedless.
    The tomatoes sound great!! I could get two uses out of the 1L jars...so 24 would definitely last me the year as we eat tomato based dishes at least twice a week - especially in the fall/winter.

    My mother canned her own tomatoes all my young life...so I grew up on them...and much prefer them to the store bought type. I'd get her recipe, but we're not in contact. Anyone have a good one they'd like to share?

    Im having a hard time convincing my husband that the initial cost is worth it. I have alot of jars...as I've been saving them from the store bought jams/jellies/pickles and sauces. And I'm thrifting them too...but I'd like a canner...oh the dreams!!
    Mama to Smookie (Feb 2009)
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    highland hills/forest heights
    Posts
    3,145

    Default

    i make jam every year, but i've never "canned"... i always make freezer jam

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,121

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Emilysofiasmom View Post
    i make jam every year, but i've never "canned"... i always make freezer jam
    How long does you jam last? I read 6 months in freezer but I think my gramma always had hers a full year.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,121

    Default

    Just did more reading and saw it lasts a year. Also ran into an article about freezing tomatoes....love threads that inspire! I don't have a garden but will be heading to the market this year for sure.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    567

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by smookies_mama View Post
    Thanks Karen!
    we LOVE strawberry jam, and go through alot througout the year...so that alone would make the canning worth it - especially when I'm paying almost $4/jar of Smuckers Seedless.
    The tomatoes sound great!! I could get two uses out of the 1L jars...so 24 would definitely last me the year as we eat tomato based dishes at least twice a week - especially in the fall/winter.

    My mother canned her own tomatoes all my young life...so I grew up on them...and much prefer them to the store bought type. I'd get her recipe, but we're not in contact. Anyone have a good one they'd like to share?

    Im having a hard time convincing my husband that the initial cost is worth it. I have alot of jars...as I've been saving them from the store bought jams/jellies/pickles and sauces. And I'm thrifting them too...but I'd like a canner...oh the dreams!!
    I would mention to people that you are interested in canning and would take canning jars (esp older neighbours and friends). I would post on freecycle too. I just had 2 people contact me and offer jars because they knew I can (a lot - lol). I picked up a couple of boxes at garage sales last year for $2 for 12 jars. I have an insane number of jars - at least 500 or so. And I doubt I paid full price for even 1/5 of them. I use them to freeze things in as well as for general storage.

    You need canning jars, rather than just any jars, in order to hold up to the heat and processing. Classico spaghetti and other sauces come in mason jars which you can reuse as canning jars and they would be a nice size for a small family. I do my pears in that size jar which is just right for adding to a fruit salad or a fruit crisp for our family.

    I often see canning pots at thrift stores fairly cheap. Even new the big ones are about $20 on sale in the late summer.

    If you are working out the economics, a 1L jar of tomatoes costs me about 0.75- 0.85 cents a jar to make (including a new lid). That is assuming bushels of tomatoes cost about $16-18. Add the cost of a new to you thrifted jar (about 0.50 each at our local Salvation Army) and you are still coming in cheaper than a can of tomatoes at the groc store and you are getting about 40% more quantity wise.

    I can my tomatoes using this process: http://www.pickyourown.org/canning_tomatoes.htm
    I use vinegar rather than lemon juice (it's cheaper and we like the flavour).
    I only can roma tomatoes and we cut them into coins. We add a ladle full of boiling water to the jar first which helps prevent cracking then 2 tbsp of vinegar, stuff the jar full of tomatoes, then top up with more boiling water and pressing down with a spoon to release the air.
    It's really simple and the website has good basic advice for canning most fruits and veggies.

    Jam is also cheap, especially if you pick your own fruits. Freezer jam tastes really fresh - which is lovely - but I just don't have the freezer space to handle all the jam we go through. I also like the idea of shelf stable foods in addition to the stuff we have in the freezer.

    It's a bit of a throwback I guess but I get a real feeling of satisfaction canning my own food. It can be a lot of work for the quantities we do but my husband helps and we chat and it's a nice time. Opening a can of peaches or tomatoes in February that taste like summer peaches is amazing. There really isn't any taste like it.
    hth
    Karen
    Peace is not something you wish for; it's something you make, something you do, something you are, something you give away.
    ~ Robert Fulghum

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    567

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Prid5 View Post

    For the canning, I've never heard of anyone saying they had too much, after they've done it, usually the opposite to be honest! And if you do find that you have done more than you will need, slap a pretty label and ribbon on it and give away as gifts. People LOVE that stuff. Good luck! I admire anyone who cans and preserves things. I want to, but the whole thing scares me! (the amount of work involved esp.) I wish I had paid more attention to grandma when we helped her do it when we were kids.
    You can do it! Start with jam. It's not much work - about 20-30 minutes to do a batch plus the waterbath time. You can do it in a regular large stock pot so your investment is low.
    There are classes - I know little city farm does some. Or you may be able to find some through other local food organizations.
    It's really lovely to be able to do things yourself.
    Peace is not something you wish for; it's something you make, something you do, something you are, something you give away.
    ~ Robert Fulghum

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    highland hills/forest heights
    Posts
    3,145

    Default

    in theory my jam lasts a year... realistically, i make too many biscuits and bread and it doesn't last =p

    I am terrified of canning "wrong" and killing off my family with botulism... i hadn't thought about a class!! I learn better by seeing and doing, NOT by reading!! good idea!

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