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!.