A Good Tired


Apples with dried cherries and raisins, in syrup. Canned outside on my new grill with a burner!

In the past several weeks, I’ve put away 12 quarts peppers, 10 quarts peaches, 8 quarts and 10 pints apples, 1 quart nectarines, 1 quart cream-style corn (need MUCH more corn! I haven’t been paying attention to that!), 4 quarts dried zucchini chips, 2 quarts dried squash chips, 4 quarts eggplant slices, 12 quarts dried potpourri apple slices/peels/cores, 10 quarts dried potpourri peach slices/peels/pits, 8 quarts apples, 10 pints hot pepper butter, 10 pints sweet pickle relish, 6 pints cucumber chips, 6 pints sweet pickle slices, 8 pints salsa, 18 quarts green beans, 1 quart blackberries in syrup, and I’m up to a total of 35 quarts tomatoes.

Quart is such a weird word.

This constitutes my summer preserving (so far, but I’m far from done). There was a spring canning with strawberries and other things I can’t even remember now unless I go inspect the pantry. Which is far too scary, so not goin’ there. And there are still other things to come in the fall–pumpkins, gourds, horseradish, etc. (Don’t make me think! I’m writing this post on Saturday night after I got home on Friday night at 2:18 AM from picking up my son from an away football game. After standing on my feet in the kitchen all day. Which I twittered. Do you follow me on Twitter? Occasionally, I actually remember to twitter…. I apologize for the weeks at a stretch that I forget. I’m working on that. Maybe I’ll get Clover to twitter. She seems to have a lot of spare time…. I’m tired. CAN YOU TELL? I also apologize if I owe you an email. Or a book. Or a copy of my sewing machine manual–you know who you are! I swear, I have NOT forgotten! These things haunt me. I will get back to you asap.) And I’ve got to get the cold frame put back together. I’m ready for fresh lettuce! (Does anyone have any rhubarb to share for planting in the spring, by the way? I need rhubarb….)

Some of the fruit I’ve preserved this summer is temporarily frozen, awaiting time to can it into delicious treats. Fruits and vegetables will continue coming in for a few more weeks, then it will all be gone.

Much of what is already canned isn’t put away. It’s lined up and stacked up on my dining room table and kitchen counters waiting until I can stop long enough to reorganize my pantry and get more shelves in. My goal right now is to get as much food, fresh and free, stored up for the year ahead, including Christmas presents. Many things I’ve made and will be making with what I’ve preserved is headed for neat recipes I’ll can when I have more time. Recipes like peach conserve with rum, apple chutney, nectarine chutney, apple-maple jam, and one I just had to can right away–rustic apples with dried cherries and golden raisins in a cinnamon-nutmeg syrup. YUM.

(It was rustic because the recipe called for leaving the apple peelings on. Gotta love a recipe that doesn’t want you to peel.)

Want the recipe? It’s based on a recipe from Ball Blue Book of Preserving. I modified it some and I’ll post about it tomorrow….. I don’t mean to be a tease, but I’m tired, a good tired, too tired to write a recipe. I did re-do my how-to-can in a hot water bath post, so go take a look at that so I’ll feel as if I did something useful. I wanted to re-do it because it’s a post I refer to often and the photos in it were terrible. I’m not a photographer and I don’t pretend to be one, but I realize I’ve learned at least something about photography whenever I look back at older posts and cringe. (Forgive me, I knew not what I did. I still don’t, but I’m better at not knowing what I’m doing now. Progress!) I’m also planning to do a post on pressure canning soon to encourage those of you still afraid. Be not afraid! I will take you by the hand. Soon.

AND ALSO…. I want to make a note in this post about free stuff–everything I’ve put away this year was free. Did you know there’s a world of free produce available? This is not for everyone and I want to make that clear. But, if you happen to be someone who is both willing and able (with the time and energy) to get free food–here’s how.

I preserve food from my garden. I also preserve some goodies I get from the old farmhouse garden. (Georgia’s garden.) But that’s not enough. I get more from the farmers market. For free. Make friends with farmers at the farmers markets near you. Go regularly so they know they can count on you and what days to expect you. Offer them a service–take away their old produce. This saves them some trouble at the end of a long day of tending their vendor booth. But, you can’t be picky. You have to take whatever they throw in the boxes and buckets they want taken away. Don’t expect them to give you stuff they can sell (i.e. perfect stuff). They’re going to toss away blemished produce and produce that is on the verge of over-ripe. And even some stuff that is downright rotten. You have to take it all–then go home and sort it. (It helps if you have pigs and chickens so you can use the excess for feed. It’s also good for composting.) You must be prepared to preserve it within 24-48 hours. You won’t have any longer than that before what is still good goes bad. Often two-thirds of what you take home is unusable. But oh, the stuff that is good! It’s amazing. One bad spot on an apple and they can’t sell it. But you can cut that spot out and have all the apples you want.

Free apples. They looked terrible in the box. After I got done cutting away the bad parts, they were gorgeous.
And they represent another homemade Christmas full of jars of canned goodies.
I’m tired now, but in December when I’m packing up jars of peach conserve and nectarine chutney and apples with cherries and raisins, in baskets sprinkled with dried apple peels, I’m gonna be real happy!

(And hopefully by then RESTED!!!)


  1. gwen says:

    what a beautifull photo of the apples, makes hungry!!!!


  2. Shelly says:

    Wow, I am really impressed. You should show us what your pantry looks like when you get all your shelves in and have it all organized, I would like to see that. You could put nice contact paper on the shelves with lace ribbon on the edges and make it look real country looking. I am one of those who is still afaid to can but I think I want to pressure can so I will look forward to your post. Great job, get some rest for a few hours!

  3. Sheila Z says:

    The farmers market here donates all the end of the day leftovers to the local soup kitchen and several food pantries. Sadly you can’t get anything free, but I’m glad people in need are getting use of the extra. However, I’ve been getting pretty good deals from local farmers and at farmstands by asking to buy in volume and when they have excess. I have to put stuff up on the farmers schedule rather than my own, but I’ve gotten some good deals this way. I envy your ability to get free produce!

  4. Box Call says:

    I always have to laugh when folks I work or hunt around tell me they want to retire from work and live on a farm. That ain’t retiring, I assure you. Farm equals WORK. No wonder my praternal grandma and grandpa ate biscuits, gravy, eggs, sausage, and oats for breakfast and never gained a pound of weight….they worked their butts off!

  5. Tracey In Paradise Pa. says:

    YOU ARE THE WOMAN!!!I am tired just reading your post!! Do you need my mailing address for Christmas? lol…Happy Labor Day!!

  6. Lynda Dunham-Watkins says:

    I love your canned stuff! But I want your energy!!! LOL

  7. Donna says:

    I love canned jam..however, I think I have only had one other item canned, and it was grose, so I don’t know alot about canned food.

  8. kay says:

    ok. that is it! i am going to can on my grill also. i have quit doing it in resent years because it make my house to hot…well not anymore! thanks for the great idea!

  9. Miss Becky says:

    pantry shelves lined with jars of fruits and vegetables, freshly canned are beautiful. sometimes when I finish canning I just sit and stare at the jars ~ it is all so perfect and gives me such great satisfaction. it is a way of life, and it is wonderful. thanks for the photos, and have a happy labor day! :yes:

  10. Linda says:

    Oh your canned foods look so good! I don’t can much in the line of vegetables, but I do can fruit…

    I love your blog! It always elicits a laugh…

  11. Mama Pea says:

    You’re to be given on heckuva lot of credit for the time, work and energy you’re expending at this time of year. But the benefits you and your family will reap are untold; you’re doing good things environmentally, nutritionally, economically . . . I’m sure one could write a post on that topic alone.

    I think you inspire all of us to get off our duffs and follow suit. It’s all part of re-learning to do for ourselves. We could be oh-so-much-more self-sufficient than we are. I personally feel we could solve a lot of society’s problems by doing so.

    Thanks for being so consistent with your always interesting, funny, and worth-while posts.

  12. Runningtrails - Sheryl says:

    Wow! You have been BUSY!! I love that you get all that stuff for free! Great idea, and none of it is wasted. The unedible things are good in the compost. I go out of my way just to get things for the compost! I’m a good scrounger too. I also trade for things that I want.

    I have to learn to can stuff…

  13. Angela says:

    I wish I had the time and the veggies to can this year. The only thing I have managed to do is freeze some corn that I bought from Gritts Farm from a man on the side of the road. The best corn I have ever ate!!! :hungry: I would like to can some peaches. I just bought a fancy Ball water bath canner this year and I haven’t used it! 😕 I don’t have a pressure canner. Can’t wait to see your post on pressure canning!


  14. Joycee says:

    These are Blue Ribbon Beautiful! I can’t think of a nicer gift than a jar of these…hint, hint!
    joy c. at grannymountain

  15. Catalina says:

    How do you use dried eggplant?

    I usually roast it and freeze it, but I have a super over abundance of eggplant and I need more preserving ideas!

    • Suzanne says:

      I’ve been blanching eggplant and freezing it, but you can also blanch it then dry it to use in sauces and casseroles or to dip and batter fry. I have some more eggplant to preserve, too, and I may do the blanching/drying with that.

  16. arcanabtn says:

    Mom and Dad have been using fish cookers to do their canning. You don’t have to heat up the house. I bought one at Bass Pro Shops during their day after Thanksgiving sale. I haven’t canned on it yet, but it works wonderfully with my cast iron and tent!

  17. I Wanna Farm says:

    I had to laugh when you said ‘quart’ is a funny word. Sometimes my son and I find a common word strange and funny and can’t stop saying it and laughing. I guess we’re weird. 😛

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