Look! I just made all our [canning] lives easier!

As is my practice, for the third year in a row, here’s a rundown on how successful my plan for food preservation for CY (that’s canning year) 2014-2015 was , along with a “why didn’t I think of this before?” tip for you.

Last year, I made TONS of pesto (because we had run out the year before) and then hardly used any.  Of course.  I also for some reason ended up using only half the pumpkin I’d frozen (fewer muffins consumed, I think) and with so much corn that we took cilantro corn salsa to [not exaggerating] 3 parties in 3 days over Memorial Day weekend.  I did manage to use up all our corn, but we consumed close to half of it (via corn salsa at parties) in about a month.  Luckily, we got invited to a lot of parties in May and June. Other than that, I did pretty well (besides the disastrous strawberry jam incident.)

Last year, I had the brilliant idea of actually making myself a spreadsheet to keep track of this stuff so I didn’t have to hold it all in my head.  And then, I had the even more brilliant idea to actually write down AS I WAS PUTTING IT INTO THE FREEZER how much I had actually preserved.  So no more trying to remember how many bags I put into the freezer, no more recounting in November to finally figure out if I was done or not, no more stressing about numbers.  It’s all just written down!

Here’s what preservation plan for this year looks like (as of yesterday). I have it up on our fridge so I can update it easily.  Last year, I even had a pencil in one of those clip magnets right next to the tally.  I’m definitely going to go put one on the fridge as soon as I press “publish” on this post.

012 (640x427)The column on the left is for me to write down (as I’m doing it!! in real time!!) how many bags/jars I’ve currently preserved.  The smiley-faces mean that I’m done with that particular category.  I like seeing lots of smileys! 

Here’s the PDF version of that chart if you’d like to look at it closely and here’s the same chart in Excel if you’d like to modify it for yourself.  You’ll see that within each category (frozen, canned), the items are roughly organized by vegetables, fruit, and “value-added” items (like pesto, pizza sauce, pickles, etc.).

For reference for your own planning, we’re a family of two adults and two kids.  Our kids are 4.75 and 2.5 and Mark in particular eats a lot.  I’m finding that I do need to preserve a bit more than we used to so the amount of food our kids are eating is definitely starting to register in our food consumption.

Want to know more about how/what/why we can/preserve food during the summer/fall?

And, because I know there is a sizable portion of my blog readership who read just for the pictures of Ellie and Mark, here’s a totally unrelated and totally cute picture of Mark nursing Possum (who seems to need a lot of nursing these days)! 🙂

167 (427x640) (2)Note: do not be deceived.  Possum is really a racoon.

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