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Preserving, Smartly

Plum jam2

    It is the season of bounty and in trying to make the most our money, I want to preserve it. Oh I have dreams of shelves filled with glistening jars in jewel colors, a full freezer and my pantry stuffed to the seams. I have been dreaming since spring all I want to do but then reality has hit. My garden is not putting out the bounty I was hoping. We have had no guests all summer but the next two months will be busy. Plus, quite frankly I just can not do it all. So I realize I need to be smart about all of this and how I use my time.

    I decided to make a list of all I wanted to do. Then went back over it and crossed off either what we will not really eat or what I can already buy cheap. For example I can get inexpensive frozen green beans and corn, also fresh carrots, organic at Costco. Also I have found in the past my family did not eat canned fruit and veggies. So I have let this go. Even jam, we eat it but not large quantities. We are not big peanut butter and jelly fans. So I am making a few small batches, like my favorite red-wine plum jam. I decided to freeze most of my fruit and if I need more jam, I can take that frozen fruit and make more in the winter.

    One food we eat a lot of is red sauce, so I canned that. I have also dried a lot of fruit and veggies for future cakes, muffins, dried soup mixes, etc. I plan on making Roasted Pear Sauce and pumpkin pie filling for the freezer.

    So what I am trying to say with this long post, is think about what your family likes? What you use, what is easily available to you and what is not? That way you can plan wisely how to fill your pantry. Also I encourage you to try at least one new thing. For me drying certain veggies this year is new for me. I may decide it is not worth it but I will not know unless I try. It is just as important to know what does not work, as what does!.





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Gumbo Lily

I've been canning peaches and pears this past week with my DIL and my DD. It seems like it's been a lot of work, but oh....those beautiful jars lining the shelves will be so delicious when winter days come. I always feel rich when my canning cupboard is full.

I so agree about whittling the canning & freezing to what we really will use. I've learned lesson by trial and error too.

You've got some great looking jelly there!

Pearl Maple

So very true, we only have so many hours to play with and there are somethings that are easily or more economical to purchase and then there are some things that are too special not to enjoy.

Linda Colantino

Hi Clarice...Jim and I took a day off from the hospital and went to the Oregon State Fair. It was great to look at all the canned goods and jar! You are very wise to decide what your family likes and the expense involved in all of this. I did put up dill pickles last year. I hadn't done that for years! A big hit. I have about six jars left, so will wait for next year....but I really wanted to do it again. I used to can peaches, pears and apples sauce...miss it in the winter.
Tell me again where your family lives in Oregon!

Tracey McBride

Hi Clarice! I agree. Like you, I've whittled down my dream canning (i.e., "putting up") list over the years to a few well used items. I do small batches of jam for gift baskets :) and then make fresh conserves and the like for immediate consumption (the girls really like the low or no sugar variety). We also like a LOT of marinara sauce, so I try to make multiple batches of this and freeze it for future use. (I freeze this in jars, leaving about an inch of space at the top so that it has room to expand--I learned this from my sister in law years ago and it works so well). I also freeze berries (so easy and no prep needed!) and whole tomatoes as well. You always offer such great and inspiring posts!
P.S. Love your balsamic vinegar tip/comment for our caramelized onion post. Can't wait to try it!!


I realized that years ago when I used to dehydrate a lot of food. I ended up only using it in soups and stews once in awhile so I gave my dehydrator to my daughter.

I have a great apple pie filling that I'm going to start canning once apples are quite inexpensive again. One of my friends has used it with pears successfully. I know it will be used.


You are amazing!! Love all of your creativity in the kitchen.
Happy long weekend,


It really IS a case of what the family will eat, isn't it? I spent the first years of my marriage making jams and chutneys from every fruit that grew on our farm and wild ones too, only to have to buy in strawberry jam which was the only type my dh wanted!

This summer I went through my pantry and threw out jam that was over 10 years old!!!

This year I have made 35 jars of blueberry butter, as my children love it. I have bought in the strawberry jam that dh wants and made a little freezer jam from the strawberries and raspberries in the garden for when we have visitors. The rest of the fruit and vegetables are frozen.

If it ever stops raining and the blackberries ripen I might can those as it is so easy to add them to a few apples for a quick pie; but the apple pie filling I canned last year all that was a waste of time and effort. It is lovely to have homemade produce to give as gifts is a difficult balance!

It is so damp and grey here I have already started to decorate for Autumn, and have lit the fire twice in the evenings already. Usually I hold out until October! I hope you have good weather for your time away.
Love Gill.

Jacqueline Jaggers

I'm on to a new thing...I'm making apple butter. A new thing for me and then it's on to some simple pumpkin bread. Tis the season, to be cozy and warm. Autumn will soon arrive. Gods blessings to you and yours.

Junie Moon

You're very smart in being realistic about what you can do and what your family needs or will use. Enjoy your time off!


Hope your time away is fun!


I agree!!! The fruit canning I have done goes well in my home...but the veggies being canned...NO! This is a very reasonable post... have a great couple days off. Hugs, Mica


I learned this a couple of years ago, but I still love canning. I freeze most of the fruit - raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and some peaches for cobbler. I am planning to put up a few jars of canned peaches since my husband likes them. I made quite a bit of jam - my husband eats it and I like making bar cookies with it. I made some blackberry pancake syrup this year, and some hot pepper jelly, both of which make nice gifts.

Have a great weekend, Clarice!


The responses to this post have been interesting. I guess most of us take some time to realize when something isn't working. I was going to can some tomatoes and onions, but frankly is was easier to freeze them. Love, Mom

The Pleasures of Homemaking

I've thought along the same lines. I decided to not grow a huge fall/winter garden. Like you I can get quite a few things much cheaper at the grocery store anyway and there are other things I want to concentrate on this winter.

We don't eat alot of jam either that's why I like the freezer jam. It doesn't make a ton! I froze all of my excess berries and tomatoes. Yes, if we have a power failure we'll have a problem but a chest freezer stays cold enough to keep stuff frozen for a few days (at least mine does).

I think it's always good to try a few new things every year. I always try to grow something new. You never know, sometimes it winds up being worth it and sometimes it doesn't!

Hope you're having a fun time away!



I have the Butt'ry Shelf Almanac!! Didn't know there was a cookbook...I wonder how they are different? It was an exciting day for me when I found that at the library booksale let me tell you!

Like you I do the Costco frozen Veg and I freeze a lot of other fresh veg, berries and fruit for summer. But my MIL pointed out that I'm in trouble if we lose electricity for an extended period. Of course that doesn't happen very often here at all! I can remember once in the last ten years. But then I'm also running out of freezer space and I'm wanting to stock up for emergencies...say like an H1N1 outbreak that makes me want to not go out even to the store. So I'm thinking about canning some things.

Your thoughts on the red sauce are good. I could do that too. I guess the thing to do is think about what we use often that I could can. Hmmm.....thanks for provoking thought on this!

Cathy Santarsiero

My biggest problem is keeping the jars of jam away from my husband :)


This is a great point! I used to can everything that would fit in a jar; and then I would spend years tossing it out as it got too old or the seal let loose. Thanks for the reminder when I am feeling guilty about not canning all the green beans everyone is offering me. Did I mention, I don't even LIKE green beans??

Enjoy your break!

Sharon D.

Dear Clarice,

Your jam looks beautiful! I just got finished making Vanilla Plum Syrup with our plums. I have come to realization with the canning thing too! I used to can everything. People would bless us with so many fruits and vegetables and I didn't want things to go to waste so I would can. Well, Michael doesn't like canned fruit or veggies (I freeze now too!). I have limited what I can now to favorites unless there is something special I want to try. There are only 2 of us so I don't need a pantry full of beautiful jars of goodies. (I wouldn't have room anyway!) Most of the canning I do now is for Christmas Gifts or Hostess Gifts. Thanks for the reminder Clarice. I only wish I realized things alot sooner :)

I do look forward to trying your Pear Sauce if I can get some pears :)

Enjoy your time off :)



That's a hard lesson to learn! I always want to can the "fun" stuff, or "pretty" stuff, but my family won't eat any of it. Very pretty jars of jam!

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