Do You Preserve Your Harvest?


It’s that time of the year! The time when your excess harvest can be put to great use by preserving it for the cooler months to come. Grandma’s Kook-Kwick Pressure Cooker manual was handed down to me. The manual is most likely from the 1950’s and tells me that a properly filled pantry is the result of careful planning in advance.

“The women who is canning to feed the family doesn’t haphazardly put up whatever happens to be left over after the family have had their fill. Neither does she deprive them of fruits and vegetables while they are fresh in order to serve them canned later on. She works out her garden schedule carefully, deliberately allowing both for immediate eating and for extensive canning.”

It goes on to suggest that a canning budget for a family of five produces 800 quarts divided as follows:

Spinach 40 quarts

Tomatoes 100 quarts

Other Vegetables 150 quarts

Fruits 325 quarts

Meats 130 quarts

Soups 30 quarts

Jams, jellies, preserve 25 quarts

For a total of 800 quarts


I don’t know anyone canning 800 quarts this summer. Wow! Can you imagine growing, maintaining and preserving a garden to feed your entire family for a year? There are many who desire this for their family, but very few who are aware or willing to do the huge amount of work. The garden that I raise and the few quarts of veggies I put up, pale into comparison to what the Kwick-Kook suggests. If I was the woman canning to feed the family, I would have to dedicate my entire summer to filling the pantry!

We have become so accustomed to the convenience of a grocery store or farmers markets that we don’t consider how much time grocery store or markets save us.  Our food system has evolved to fit our lifestyles and I dare say that the majority do not want to go back to summers filled with gardening and preserving to feed the family for an entire year.

Let’s consider the men and woman who produce the food we get from the grocery, they have the skill set and knowledge that keeps our pantries full.  Yes, we like the idea of homegrown food but most of us aren’t willing to commit the time and resources to it. I am like the women Kwick-Kook suggests, “Who haphazardly puts up whatever is left over;” and I am okay with that! How about you? How many quarts have you put up so far this year?


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