October 22, 2011

Food Preservation Totals for 2011

My pantry shelves are stocked and my freezer is full. Here are my preservation totals from this year's efforts:


Jams, all canned
  • blueberry , 11 pints
  • fig, 13 pints
  • strawberry, 6 pints


Soups, sauces, & juice

Pickles, all canned

  • eggs, frozen, 1 dozen
  • cheeses, hard, waxed & refrigerated, 14
  • cream, frozen, 4 quarts
  • milk, frozen, 14 half-gallons (for yogurt making)
  • milk, frozen 36 half-pints (for coffee)
  • mozzarella, frozen, 44 pizza's worth
  • whey, frozen, 5 ice cube trays

Grains (none weighed yet), Beans, & Nuts

I still getting milk, so cheesemaking continues. From last year I still have canned figs, green beans, canned and dehydrated Swiss chard, pickle relish, pizza sauce, green tomato salsa, dried black turtle beans, pickled beets, canned sweet potatoes, tomato soup, pie fillings (both blueberry and apple), applesauce, and apple butter. Also frozen eggs, which I've finally been using now that my chickens are moulting. Speaking of chickens, we have 7 or 8 cockerels for butchering in the upcoming months. And of course there's the fall garden.

In regards to our food goals, we've definitely made progress.
  • We're able to produce and preserve a year's worth of vegetables for 2 persons plus occasional guests.
  • Fruit trees are planted & growing, so hopefully in a few years I'll be preserving enough fruit for a year
  • Dairy is what we added this year. Hopefully I've frozen enough milk, whey, and cheese to get us through the does' dry season.
  • Protein is one I'm still working on. Eggs, milk, and cheese contribute to that, as well as dried beans. But Dan especially, is a meat eater. We have the cockerels of course, and the Kinders will be dual purpose for both milk & meat. Eventually we will have pigs, and there's a possibility for venison too, from garden fattened deer. And squirrel stew. 
  • We're making progress on grains too, though with that we've just begun.
  • Fats and sweeteners. Pigs will help with the fats. Sweeteners can be honey and/or sorghum molasses, both future projects.
  • Also this year I was able to add more soups to the pantry. I really appreciate these "convenience" foods during the winter. 
For now, I'd say things are looking pretty good. 


Florida Farm Girl said...

Oh, indeed, things are looking good. I love the way canned things look sitting on a shelf. Like jewels. Only thing I do is freeze blueberries and make strawberry jam. I froze 28 pounds of blueberries this year but I bet hubby has eaten half of the already! Day or so ago he saw fresh in the store and commented that he'd better slow down on his, 'cause he didn't want to pay that price for fresh ones. I made about 30 pints of strawberry jam this year.

Rosamargarita said...

Me siento avergonzada de ir al supermercado a comprar!
Un fuerte abrazo

Tina T-P said...

Squirrel stew? Hmmm -

I am so impressed with your pantry FULL of beautiful home canned foods - Great Job!!! T.

mashelly said...

that is a brilliant effort

jewlz said...

Now that is a beautiful pantry. Congrats, & thanks for the inspiration.

Leigh said...

FFG, the prices make things like store bought blueberries a luxury. I'm with your hubby, I wouldn't pay the price either! Good job on freezing 28 pounds and on all that strawberry jam.

Rosamargarita, gracias! Don't feel bad though, I still buy some things at the grocery store. :)

Tina, do you have a recipe? I've got one frozen squirrel in the freezer!

Joyfulhomemaker, thank you!

JW, thanks! I appreciate the comment. :)

Woolly Bits said...

that pantry really looks good - all set for the winter:)) what I envy you most is not the stuff on the shelves - but the nice pantry in itself:)) I have to put all my stuff on a shelf at the back of the shed... which means that I have to take out two bikes first, whenever I need a jar of something:(( very annoying but the only space I have for this. and of course I can only store jars/tins etc. in it, not stuff that can be damaged by damp or mice etc...

Cat Eye Cottage said...

Congratulations! You must be extremely happy with your progress.

dr momi said...

Doing great!

Mr. H. said...

Not only is that an amazing amount of food but an amazing accomplishment...It takes a tremendous amount of dedication to stalk ones own larder. Love the new header picture.

Mama Pea said...

A beautiful pantry! I know just how much work went into all that food you put by. (But what would give us more satisfaction than doing that "work?")

Question about your frozen goat milk: Do you pasteurize it before freezing or just freeze it raw? (I may have missed this in a previous post.) When I froze ours raw, it came out kind of separated in clumps and very unappetizing in appearance. I then found out if the milk is pasteurized first (not something I'd choose to do), it retains its normal look and texture after freezing.

Leigh said...

Bettina, you're bringing up a very good point about storage. I am very, very fortunate to have had a small spare room we could convert to a pantry. However, I'm running out of places to cure, dry, and otherwise store harvested things. The latest sweet potatoes, broom corn, and wheat are all over my front porch. :(

Candace, thanks! I'm very pleased with it, and thankful to be able to do it.

Dr. Momi thanks!

Mr. H, the header photo is of my dogwood tree. It turns such a lovely dark red in the fall. The pantry is one of those things that is worth every ounce of work. Priceless.

Mama Pea, thanks! I've been freezing my milk raw and whole. My only experience with freezing it in the past was store bought organic, pasteurized and homogenized. I'll have to let you know how it turns out. We don't drink it, so it's mostly being saved for cooking, yogurt making, and coffee.

Adesazz said...

Good grief that's a bounty when you total it all in one place! Good to see a positive post once in awhile (just kidding!). But I know how difficult this year was (you told me, see) so I can't tell you how happy I am to see that all along you've been as busy and resourceful as ever! I am amazed on a regular basis, stick with it!

Deb W said...

I'm with Woolt Bits - I just admire the pantry itself - besides all the work that has gone into preserving everything in it! In my townhouse, I have given up the idea of having a 'normal' decorated living space - I have jars, cans and bags tucked onto shelves everywhere! How many freezers do you have?!? You mention freezing foodstuffs as well as several months worth of milk and dairy products - surely all that can't fit into one freezer.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Oh my goodness, Leigh . . . that is one impressive looking pantry and list of your accomplishments. What a joy for you and Dan to be able to live off your land as you do. I'm afraid at our age we aren't as ambitious as you, but would have loved to be able to do this years ago. But we were city-folks then and both working full time jobs. Now that we're country folks and retired, we're enjoying our eight chickens and our three small raised garden beds. Life is good!

Sherri B. said...

What a joy to see your pantry practically overflowing and your list so long...you will not want for food after all of your hard work!

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

Its like putting money in the bank. Very colorful and tasty money. Sure looks good.

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

Your pantry looks divine and I bet everything taste as good or better than it looks...Shows you have really been working hard and earning more than your keep :o)
Nothing like just going to the pantry for any choice meal instead of using gas to go to the store...

Joanna said...


Nothing feels more secure going into the winter than a stocked pantry/freezer/hay mow/woodshed :)

I haven't sat down to add up this season's harvest, and I usually don't add up what I can since we're always eating & canning more throughout the year, but I can't wait to see how the harvest comapres to last year. Such a learning experience!

We grew kidney beans this year and they're beautiful. I'm starting to plant dry beans on newly turned ground because they bring in some nitrogen and also help cycle out the wireworms that ruin potatoes.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow---you're doing awesome! I just found your blog and I'm really enjoying it. You have lots of great ideas for a novice homesteader like me. Thanks for all that you share!

Leigh said...

Adesazz, it's wonderful to have something so positive to post about! LOL

Deb, I have one chest freezer and the two with my two refrigerators. The chest freezer is not a huge one, it's four feet in length, because that's all the space I had to put it. It is pretty full, but I'm trying not to freeze fruits and veggies unless that's the tastiest option. I also have to keep my grains in either fridge or freezer, because of pantry moths.

CaliforniaGrammy, thanks! I think as long as anyone can say "life is good," then that's what truly counts. :)

Sherri, and I'm thankful for the abundance. :)

Jane, I wholeheartedly agree. And it's true, much prettier than money. :)

Ginny, hopefully one of these days all our food will be zero mile. :)

Joanna, thanks! I agree that this is true security. I didn't know that about wireworms, thanks for that! I haven't tried kidney beans yet but maybe I should. My black turtle beans did marvelously last year.

Kristi, thank you so much! I'm always happy to be an encouragement to others. I'm on my way to go visit yours.

Jj said...

Wow! You have been really good this autumn! And the pantry is looking absolutely astonishing!

Renee Nefe said...

re: Squirrel stew. Haven't had any in about 30 years, but I remember that my father always made it with too much pepper. I think that he was trying to cover up any taste in it at all. My mom did a much better job of cooking wild game.
I'm sure you can find good recipes online though. If I remember correctly squirrel is a lot like dark meat chicken in texture...I don't remember the taste at all.
Your pantry sounds wonderful! Congrats on a great harvest.

Paula said...

Someday I'll be able to do what you did-that's the goal anyway.

We have that very same Country Living grain mill and I love it!

For protein, may I suggest rabbits? Then there are dexter cattle. Last year my husband and I purchased half a grass-fed beef- this year we decided to go with a half a grass fed hog. Hogs are supposed to be good in places where there isn't a lot of pasture. Plus- they make a good bit of fat which is a hard thing to come by if you're homesteading and not buying oils, etc. Geese might be good for the same reason.

Donna OShaughnessy said...

I am green with envy, purple with frustration (we are not yet set up to do all that yet), red with embarassment (I could have preserved more) black with depression that we still have our too big farm which is keeping us from buying our little farm and Pink with joy over your bounty and hard work. And even with all those colors I look pretty dull compared to your bright and beautiful pantry. JOB WELL DONE !!!!

Leigh said...

Anita, thanks! I confess there's a good bit from last year still there. It works well though, to put away a good harvest of a thing in case the next year isn't so bountiful. That's what happened with my green beans. OTOH, it enabled me to focus on other things. :)

Renee, you're the 1st person who has actually eaten squirrel stew! Somewhere I found a website with a bunch of good recipes; I'll have to see if I didn't bookmark it. I'm finding too, that Joy of Cooking has instructions for rather unusual things, like squirrel and ground hog. Not that I've tried any of them yet....

Paula, thank you for the visit and comment! Great suggestions for meat. We are definitely working toward pigs as they seem like the most versatile homestead animal on the planet. Eventually we will have chevon from our Kinder goats. I hadn't thought about geese for their higher fat content, but that's a possibility too.

Donna, LOL and thanks. Sounds like you're a rainbow of emotion. :) I hope you get a buyer for your farm soon.

Anonymous said...

Dear Leigh, thank you for visiting my blog and for your compliments. What a nice thing to find your comment this morning. I'll surely be spending time on your blog. You do things that I had no idea could be done (dehydrating watermelon, for example), and I know I'll learn a lot from you. Not to mention, it's nice to be able to follow someone who is further down the road than I am, meeting the kind of goals I have for myself and my little homestead. Thanks again! :)

Renee Nefe said...

I grew up in Louisiana. My father enjoyed hunting and stocked our freezer with pretty much anything that moves. I've eaten frog legs, lots of kinds of fish including Gar which is not something most folks want to eat because they're "cleaner fish" as in clean up after others...not a clean fish. Crawdads, rabbit, squirrel, wild boar and venison. But I haven't had anything that wasn't bought at a supermarket in at least 30 years now as my parents divorced and we moved to Florida.

Renee Nefe said...

oops I forgot to put down turtle. had that too. I think it would be interesting to be able to try all of those again with out the pepper and see if I still like them. (note: it was just my father who cooked with too much pepper, my mom would take the time to find a good recipe for these.)

Leigh said...

Kristi, one of the blessings of the internet is sharing information and learning from one another, for sure. There are so many of us who are drawn to this lifestyle, yet have to learn the ways and skills. The thing I love about homesteading blogs is that most of us aren't trying to sell anything or giving a sales pitch, we're just sharing what we learn as we go along.

Renee, Louisiana! I have to say that during my years there I ate the more unusual meats. That's where I ate frogs legs too, LOL Of course crawfish and crabs, but I was once invited to a meal of alligator. As I recall, it was tastily prepared and very good. When I lived in Arkansas I did try snake meat. It was a copperhead that a guy killed. He was actually vegetarian, but he felt badly about having to kill it and didn't want it's life wasted. One of these days we'll try that squirrel stew. :)

About that pepper, Cajuns do love their food on the decidedly spicy side!

JeffJustJeff said...

Very impressive. I hope you're proud of this accomplishment. You inspire me!

Grace said...

Wowza! You always give me new heights to aspire to.

I've had squirrel pot pie, but not squirrel stew. Probably quite similar, I would think?

Andrew said...

That does look good.

By the way, what kind of grain mill is that? Grainmaker? I don't care for the $45 Corona mill I have too much. I'm looking for new options.


Leigh said...

Jeff, thanks! Hopefully we inspire one another. :)

Grace, squirrel pot pie? Mmm, I like the sound of that. My pot pies are usually just stew in crust anyway, LOL.

Andrew, thanks! The grain mill is a Country Living Grain Mill. I got mine about $100 ago, but have to say they are built to last a lifetime, easier to grind than the Corona type and make much finer flour. Last year I got the power bar extension which makes the grinding easier still. I can grind non-stop now. These can also be hooked up to a bicycle for leg power operation.

Eleanor @ Planned Resilience said...

Wow! Your are a shining example for us all. I love all of those jars on the shelves. I hope my pantry looks that good some day. Where do you keep your pantry? Ours is in the basement, but that is very inconvenient. It would be lovely to have a room upstairs.

Leigh said...

Eleanor, thanks! I've had my pantry in the basement before, and know how inconvenient that is. Now, we are fortunate enough to have a spare room, one of the perks of having one's kids grown and on their own, LOL. Previous owners built an addition off of the kitchen, which added an 8 by 12 foot room, a teeny bath, and a 5 by 6 pantry. I felt that pantry was too small, so we turned it into our utility room and made the 8 by 12 room the pantry. Besides the shelves you see in the photo, it houses a cabinet for equipment and store bought goods (tinned foods, sweeteners, vinegars, coffee, etc), also my small 2nd fridge and small chest freezer. I am thankful every day for it!

Farmgirl Susan said...

Wow, that's really impressive. Congratulations! :)

icebear said...

Darlin, you do what i only dream of accomplishing. God bless!

Leigh said...

Susan thanks! It's definitely worth all the work. :)

Icebear, it's definitely a process. :)

Unknown said...

Now Leigh, you heard back then from so many commenters (im jealous but then you do walk the talk) and im telling you again that your pantry preserving is mighty impressive. Its like food art. I think if i walk up and opened up the door on this lot a choir of angels would start singing the hallelujah chorus.

Leigh said...

Lynda, LOL. The only problem is, production isn't consistent over the years! Last summer I only got enough tomatoes for 4 pints of sauce. So sad!