Canning Food Preservation

Creating a Homegrown Winter Pantry

Written by Charlotte Walker

As we place the final batch of canning on our pantry shelves, I have to admit that my heart is filled with pride over what is before me. Row after row of colourful jars have been filled with this seasons bounty of organic heirloom produce. Onions, garlic and herbs hang from rafters and there are numerous buckets and crocks bubbling away, fermenting happily.

As I take a moment to absorb the work that has gone into building this pantry, thoughts wander to my Granny Lee who would have appreciated this. She lived in an era where producing your own food was normal. Rather than seeing her family go hungry she built a garden and raised chickens. This garden kept her family and neighbors well fed.  Nearly seventy years later, we are doing the same thing. There is a growing movement of people concerned about food security, revitalizing the old ways. They are taking matters into their own hands just like my Gran did. It’s hard work.  It’s a massive lifestyle change. If you are one of these people then I hope you take the time to admire and reflect on your achievements. Not only are you making a healthy, sustainable choice for yourself, you’re the “thin edge of the wedge” of a positive social movement.

If you are just staring out with growing and preserving your own food, I am excited for you. There is so much information and support available on-line these days. Take it day by day and you will reach your goals quickly. You might want to begin with making jams and jellies and pickles which are easier and can be done without any major speciality equipment.

Here are some of the things that we grew this year grouped by how we have preserve or stored it for the winter. We have linked to some of the recipes as well. There is plenty of other food in the pantry but this is a list of what we have produced using our own ingredients.

Pickled Pantry Items

Home Canning: All purpose Pickling Brine Recipe

Picking is really easy and if you are new to canning its the best place to start. When making a variety of products at the same time, I make a big batch of my multi purpose brine and season the jars individually.

Bread & butter pickles
Dilly Beans
Mint sauce
Pickled garlic
Pickled onions
Spicy dill pickles
Zucchini dill pickles
Pickled french beans
Pickled peppers
Pickled hot peppers
Pickled beet & horseradish sauce
Pickled sunchokes

Canned vegetables

Home canning Vegetables

When canning fresh vegetables you will want to use a pressure canner. Don’t be intimidated, the process is quite simple

Potatoes
Turnips
Sweet corn
Baked beans w/Tomato

Jams/Jellies

Homemade jams and jellies

Jams and jellies can be made with a water bath canner. They are very simple to make. We have an intro to making gourmet jams and jellies that you might enjoy reading.

Rose hip jam
Wildflower jelly
Grape jelly
Grape manischewitz jelly
Christmas spiced crab apples
Hot pepper jelly

Sauces/Condiments

Homestead pantry

It takes a lot of vegetables to fill a pantry for winter. We had over 200LB of tomatoes for canning and that was about half of what we really needed to feed two people.

Tomato sauce
Pasta sauce
Green zebra tomato sauce
Hot salsa
Green tomato salsa
mild salsa
Crispy coleslaw
Apple sauce

Juice/Alcoholic Beverage

Wildcrafted rhubarb wine

Wild crafted wines take patience but its well worth the effort. This year we focused on apples, there are a number of wild apple trees in the woods that surround our property and we managed to bring home many bushels.

Apple juice
Rhubarb wine
Apple wine
Apple apricot wine
Nail polish remover (dandelion wine gone wrong)
Exploding ginger beer

Fermented Goods

Fermented foods are filled with probiotics and enzymes for gut health. They are quite easy to make and are a welcomed addition to the homestead pantry.

Fermented foods are filled with probiotics and enzymes for gut health.

Apple cider vinegar
Sauerkraut
Fire cider

Freezer

Heritage Berkshire pork

The freezer is filled with heritage berkshire pork. We have written a few articles about raising pigs for meat:  The BIG list of things you should know about raising pigs and Eight things to know about raising pigs

Assorted peppers
Rhubarb
Roasted tomatoes
Cabbage
Beet greens
Cucumber juice

Dried

Homestead pantry

Dried goods are stored in air tight glass jars to preserve their freshness. It’s important to make sure your dry goods are completely dried before storing them.

Sunflower seeds
Green onions
Beans

Cold Storage

We have a variety of items stored for the winter. We keep them in a cool dark location.

We have a variety of vegetables stored for the winter. We keep them in a cool dark location. The  carrots, beets and turnips will stay in the garden until just before the ground freezes.

Garlic
Onion
Potato
Beet
Carrots
Parsnip
Squash
Pumpkin
Eggs
Sun chokes (Jerusalem artichokes)
Horseradish

Herbs / Apothecary

Homestead herb cabinet

Growing your own herbs and medicinal flowers can save you a lot of money.

Coriander
Rosemary
Mint
Tarragon
Thyme
Orange thyme
Oregano
Basil
Parsley
Dill
Chamomile
Lavender
Rose hips
Rose petals
Mint extract
Aloe vera
Sage
Mustard seed

For next year we plan on growing less varieties, more volume and will be more particular about the varieties we select. We want heavy producers. This year we had  nine types of tomatoes and four of them were cherry types. It was a real pain (although delicious) to process those. I also grew frivolous things like peanuts and gourds that took up valuable space in the garden. I got a total of SIX peanuts out of that arrangement. No more of that! We will also be taking our first stab at growing a cash crop of heirloom  garlic.

The mad season of preserving and storing food for the winter has wrapped up and just in time. The wood stove has slowly started its winter duties and it’s cold enough for flannel and toques. The root veggies are still in the ground for a few more weeks but otherwise the growing season has ended.  The stocked pantry is comforting with the onset of what is expected to be a particularly harsh winter.

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What's on your mind? Leave a Comment!

4 Comments

  • Your pantry is absolutely beautiful and inspiring. Hope you both are doing well. Your blog is going to be invaluable in helping us transition to a more self sufficient lifestyle. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge.

    • Thank you so much for the kind feedback. The pantry is something we are quite proud of. It is a bit daunting at times, being responsible for the food your family eats but over time we are becoming more confident in our skills. It can seem like a lot of food at first glance but it does have to last us many months. I will share an update on what it looks like by spring.

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