I decided this week that harvest season is measured by the amount of full colanders you have on your counter in the morning, and the number of empty colanders at the end of the day.

This week I was fortunate to do a garden tour of at a die-hard home food producer.  It was a great evening, both for the inspiration of the physical property, and the camaraderie of a bunch of men and women who do this crazy dance in August.  I was in need of a boost or morale for canning season, and this was just the thing.

Though I've canned a bit for a long time, I'm on about year 3 of serious food saving, and I was starting to wonder how sustainable it is, personally. Can I keep this up? Is it worth the time, energy, water (dishes/laundry) that goes into it?  Historically, I imagine food prep and canning as a family affair: moms and kids, extended families, throwing their labor and garden bounty together to make food for many.  The luxury of canning and freezing and dehydrating for our family of two almost seems wasteful at times.  While some aspects of homegrown food seem absolutely better done small-scale, for others a bit of mass-production seems more reasonable.  If blight hits our tomato patch, would it be so wrong to buy a case of organic sauce from Costco? 

But no blight here, and I plug on.  This conversation with (mostly) women who were psyched for the season really helped.  To hear someone say "I love it, I can't imagine not doing it every year" was such a boost. 

So the next morning, I tackled my counter of veggies.   By the following morning, I was down to one colander of under-ripe tomatoes! (Okay, I'm TOTALLY ignoring the drawer of long cucumbers in the fridge).  In my cupboard are now bread and butter pickles, a few jars of pickled beets, and in the freezer several pizza's worth of tomato sauce, dried tomatoes, and a week's worth of bread.

And then, we went out and picked 10 pounds of grapes, SIGH. 

Also a help?  A big supporter (and often able assistant) at home, and a community out here (in the web-ether) of people sharing their same experiences.  

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  1. What will you do with the grapes? A few years ago we had an amazing grape harvest, and made juice. It was incredible. Unfortuneatly, what with bad weather, family crises, bad pruning, etc. we haven't managed since. Maybe next year.

    And yes, the web is huge, with support and sound advice available. Do you know about the GardenWeb Harvest Forum? Excellent place for canning and preserving advice.

  2. We juice them, and either freezer it or use it for jelly. Popsicles are a big favorite (and we're adults here, ha ha).

    Thanks for the reminder on gardenweb--I've looked at it i the past but can revisit!


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