Storing food from your garden is a great way to save money and eat healthier all year long!
Simply by canning, freezing and drying the foods we grow and love, we have been able to stock our pantry with nearly three-quarters of the food we consume each year.
Storing food not only saves big on grocery bills, it also helps eliminate preservatives from our diet. And the taste? Well, it simply can’t be matched by anything processed in a can or package – and purchased from a store!
Even if you don’t have a garden, you can still preserve your own stock of fresh food. As harvest season hits full stride, there are bounties of produce available at local farms and farmers markets. It may not be your own, but it is still fresh, local, and usually at a big savings.
It’s also a great way for home gardeners to supplement their pantry with foods they might not have the space to grow.
For the last several years, we have purchased sweet corn in bulk from a farmer friend who grows the most amazing tasting corn around. It saves a lot of space in our garden, and keeps us from attracting raccoon. We simply can and freeze what we purchase from him for a full-year’s supply.
For us, we have found that using a mix of canning, freezing and drying works best.
It all starts with creating a goal list for storing food. It is sort of like a shopping list on steroids. To create, we write down what we approximately use in a given month. This includes everything from vegetables, to pasta sauce, salsa, soups, jams and more. Then, we multiply each by 12 to come up with an approximate need for an entire year.
After a few years of practice, it is amazing how accurate the list has become. Although, we do need to come up with a new column for jars of salsa and hot mustard being taken away by children at college! 🙂
Here is a look at how we mix canning, freezing and drying to meet our food goals
Storing Food From The Garden By Canning, Freezing & Drying
When it comes to preserving garden produce, canning is one of the most practical, economical, and space-saving ways of storing food.
We can everything from corn, to green beans, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, tomato juice, pizza sauce, jams, jellies and more. Canned goods are wonderful and very practical because they can be stored without the need for electricity. There have been many times when the power has been out that our canned goods have come to the rescue. See : Canning Recipes
For us, it is all about the pressure canner. It really helps to safely and quickly can and preserve the harvest. And today’s pressure canners are not those of yesteryear. They are safe and so much easier to use. Product Link : Presto Pressure Canner
Freezing is an excellent choice for storing food, especially when it comes to soups, sauces and vegetables. By far, one our best investments ever was our food saver.
It lets us safely freeze all kinds of vegetable packets, from corn to green beans, to vegetable stir fry packets made up of onions, peppers, pea pods. They are so convenient to have on hand all year whenever needed. These smaller packets are great when we don’t want to open up one of our canned jars.
But when it comes to the freezer, it is our soup and sauce “Frozen Bricks” that are the life-saver. Whenever we make our pasta sauce or homemade soup, we freeze them into what we call bricks.
These “bricks” are perfect for quick meals anytime. The soup can be thawed in a pan on the stove, and be ready in about 10 minutes. And they store so easily! We make them by first ladling and cooling in a flat plastic quart container and placing in the freezer. Once frozen, we pop it out, and freeze it with the food saver.
Once they are in the food saver bags, they store as neat little stacks in the deep freezer. You can make 8 to 10 meals with a single large pot of homemade chili, tomato soup or vegetable soup made right from the garden! Product Link : Food Saver
When it comes to storing food, nothing quite matches the ease and cost-effectiveness of foods that can be dried. Several of our crops, like our garlic, potatoes and onions, can be dried or stored whole to use nearly all year.
We also make our own dried hot pepper flakes, taco seasoning, chili seasoning, chipotle peppers, garlic powder and more from drying and grinding our own hot peppers and garlic. Not only is it amazingly easy, but the taste is simply unbeatable! See : How To Make You Own Hot Pepper Flakes
Here is to preserving your own great tasting food from your garden this year!
Happy Gardening, Harvesting and Preserving! Jim and Mary. If you would like to receive our DIY, Gardening and Recipe articles each week, sign up via email at the very bottom of the post. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to receive all of our latest tips and articles. This article may contain affiliate links.