Editors’ Prepping Progress

To be prepared for a crisis, every Prepper must establish goals and make long-term and short-term plans. In this column, the SurvivalBlog editors review their week’s prep activities and planned prep activities for the coming week. These range from healthcare and gear purchases to gardening, ranch improvements, bug out bag fine-tuning, and food storage. This is something akin to our Retreat Owner Profiles, but written incrementally and in detail, throughout the year. We always welcome you to share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments. Let’s keep busy and be ready!

Jim Reports:

I took advantage of some rainy weather and touched off a few slash piles that I’d been accumulating since last April. Since I had kept them tarped, the piles were mostly tinder dry. One of them that was primarily fir boughs generated flames that briefly leapt to 25 feet high.

The only time consuming part of the project was burning a large uprooted stump. I did my usual tricks of: 1.) Hosing off any clinging dirt from the roots, and 2.) chainsawing the stump in half, vertically.  The latter creates a chimney effect when burning–thus a lot less “tending” time and it minimizes the need to position any other wood, to keep the stump burning.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

This week, for the first time ever, I made and canned 16 pints of mild tomato mango salsa.  It is yum! I pressure canned 12 quarts of beef stew, and attempted to make ketchup.  I’m so bummed and sad about the ketchup.  Everything was going swimmingly well.  I thought I had boiled my twenty pounds of tomatoes enough.  I added the spices and then simmered for two hours.  I kept tasting the ketchup and it was awesome, but not yet thick enough.  So, I decided to keep simmering it and went off to do some other things, with a quick stir and taste, every now and then.  Jim called me to watch a movie, Minority Report. I had never seen it before.  I’m not a big movie watcher, but I heard that I should see it, because of the Predictive Programing, Oy Va Voy!  I wish I could tell you what I truly think of that movie and it’s background history/origin, but I cannot, as it would be too controversial.  Let’s just say that given who the elite/deep state people are, and what most of them believe, they must tell the populace what they are planning to do before they do it.  I believe that this is a wish for redemption of their sins that they will be committing against the people of the nations. Please do a study on the words: “Predictive Programming”.

During the movie I had left the ketchup simmering. After the movie I ran out to the kitchen, stirred the ketchup, it looked lovely and thick, just perfect.  I tasted it…. and… IT WAS BITTER!  What happened????  I jumped onto the Internet and looked up bitter ketchup and learned that if I had simmered the spices too long, it could turn bitter, or if I had used under-ripe tomatoes, or cooked it in Aluminum it could become bitter.  Well, I was  guilty on the first two points.  I did use some under-ripe tomatoes and I did over-simmer the spices.  Bummer!  Sad!  It’s terribly depressing to lose 20 pounds of my home grown tomatoes.  I will know better next time.

Pressure canning has been a learning process.  This is the first year, ever, that I have attempted it. Water bath canning is okay with me, but I am a total greenhorn at pressure canning food preservation.  I’m not an exacting person and I read directions but don’t always absorb all the steps I should, and I forget steps.  There is so much to remember and so much going on with it.  I’ve been watching pressure canning videos and see some mistakes that I’ve been making.  I’m not sure that I will use the foods that I have pressure canned this year, since I am worried about food safety. Thusfar, I have only processed green beans, carrots, and beef stew.

One major mistake I made was not letting the pressure cooker steam for ten minutes before putting the pressure regulator on it.  So therefore I could be having air in the pot which will affect the true pressure in the pot and not the level of pressure that we’re supposed to have.  The other problem is that for our elevation, I’m supposed to have the pressure at 12.  Well, I can get the gauge to 12, but within five minutes it jumps to 14 and if I lower the flames, just a little bit, it drops to 11.  So I put the flame up a just a little bit and it jumps back to 14.  So, a question for you experienced pressure canners: Would it be better just to leave it at 14 and not play with the flame, since it will stay there happily for the whole processing time, instead of trying to get it to 12 and keeping it there?  Is the food safe if the pressure drops from 14 to 11 for just a few minutes until I get it back up? I’ve just continued with the timing instead of starting over. I wish there were older women in our valley who are experienced pressure canners who would take the time to mentor younger women in this art.  When we were attending one church earlier in our marriage, we attend a small home group. I had asked several older ladies in our church if they would call me when they pressure-canned, and it never happened.

The other problem I am having is too much water being siphoned out of the jars.  I have learned that if I help the canner depressurize too quickly or take out my jars too soon that they will siphon out water.  So I just need to be more patient with the whole process.  I feel like a huge failure in this department. Perhaps I should throw out the pressure-canned carrots, beans and maybe the stew, and start over. Because… the fact of the matter is,  I probably almost have got the process down, now, and from here on out, I will probably be doing it correctly.

This past week, I also froze a gallon of carrots and chopped onions.

Jim and I set up the grow lights in the guest bedroom. Then, I brought eight dish bussing trays with soil in them in from the greenhouse. I planted seeds in four of them for our indoor winter greens garden. I planted red kale, mixed lettuce, spinach, and beets.  I will save the other four for successive planting, in a few weeks.

Keep prepping and praying and witnessing.  We are thinking the window for prepping will be closing rapidly in a few months and we’ll be needing the storage foods that we’ve put away.

May you all have a very blessed and safe week.

– Avalanche Lily, Rawles

o o o

As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.


  1. Madam Avalanche,

    I hate to see food wasted! So…
    One reason canine were successful for eighty-million years = they are opportunistic feeders. Canine evolved to thrive by eating just about anything, except bagged chow with plastics from Chinese.

    As I understand it, their stomach acid is magnitudes stronger than human stomach acid.
    Accordingly, dogs can digest foods at a far greater rate than humans can digest.
    If you believe your canned goods are compromised, maybe you could experiment with pulverizing some in a blender, then mixing a small percentage with their regular ration.

    Another use of questionable canned goods is fowl scratch.
    Also opportunistic feeders, fowl are notorious omnivores. They eat anything, although they do better without soy and bagged scratch from Chinese.
    Could you experiment with pulsing some questionable canned goods in your food processor? I imagine ‘riced’ would be a good size for them to find and scarf.
    My last choice would be compost.

    Kitchen-wise, for a wealth of heritage skills and experience, my go-to are the wimmen folk at the Advent church.
    I’m always pleasantly pleased by the little kids alongside the grannies in the kitchen.

    Please, let us know your results.

    * * * * *

    Tuesday, in our ZeroCarb cooking class, we made Spaghetti Squash Pizza Boats.
    My highest recommendation, this easily earns TheLargeMarge SealOfApproval; I’m sure any recipe would be great!
    If your crew is sensitive to dairy, a cashew cheese is a perfect substitute.

    1. In addition to LargeMarge’s great ideas, you can freeze the stew. Just make sure to boil it for 20 minutes before eating if it’s been left out. I’d even choose to boil it before adding to our dogs’ food as our dogs are not as resilient as the scavenger farm dogs I grew up with. I’d compost the veggies, personally.

      When I made catsup that no one liked – bitter, different, too thin, etc. – I used it as the base for BBQ sauce and it was delish! Especially if you like the spicy BBQ sauces. That’s what those spices covered up originally any way…spoiling foods or bitter tastes.

  2. Started to re-design and tear apart my work bench in the pole barn work shop. I acquired a commercial grade UPS system that I will be using for my solar system. I wasn’t planning on such a large foot print for my solar batteries, charge controller and inverter but when this opportunity came about I could not pass it up. I loose some shelf space and the UPS system will stick out a few inches from the workbench but it should be but a small annoyance. I still will have a counter above it. The system is on casters so when it needs maintenance I can roll it out. Was just thinking that the UPS unit may also help heat the workshop in the winter. The system is currently “always” in my way and winter is coming and wife needs to park her van inside so I need to get it organized before the snow flies. The system won’t be hooked up but at least it will be out of the way.

    Stocked up on some all-purpose adhesive glue, 4 sets of corner braces, 1lb of deck screws, box 20ga shells, set of spare battery terminals, a box of 1/2 staples for staple gun, a pack of disposable lighters, and a folding table with 4 stools for $13 on clearance at Wal-mart.

    Found another very nice hardware store in a village that is heavily populated by Amish. The store actually was selling used tools which I have not seen at a Hardware store before. Got a nice used spoke shave, a used tool for breaking roller chain and a pair of used hog ring pliers. Additional Battery spring clips, a nice USA made plastic unbreakable feed scoop. The best find was on a metal barrel facet that fits into the bung hole of a drum new for less than $8. I have been looking and even plastic ones are more than $8. The hardware store even had a  pamphlet of local Amish businesses so I definitely picked one of those up. Will be interesting to see what I find at their businesses. Better yet I am hoping to network to buy some hand powered and human powered farm tools like corn sheller, corn grinder, rope makers, etc. I will be heading out this morning to an auction for raising funds for that is used to help pay the hospital bills for the Amish. Lots of items there that will still work post-TEOTWAWKI.

    Picked up a nice circa 1950 hanging scale that goes up to 60 pounds and a like new Woodland camo BDU shirt at Salvation Army.

  3. You could refrigerate the jars in question and make eating them a priority. Might not like the lack of variety but food will not be wasted. I am sure in time you will work out the bugs. My wife started pressure canning years ago after only using water bath. Now pressure canning is her preference. Soup ,Chili ,vegetables ,bone broth and much more. I love being able to eat homemade chili year round in just minutes. Her recipe actually takes days to make. We believe you should leave pressure at 14. Thank you and keep up the good work.

  4. Leave your pressure at 14. The reasoning is pressure canners without gauges have 5 10 and 15 lb weights so if the recipe should be 12 lbs then you must use the 15 lb weight.

    1. I must agree with DG, Miss Lily. Too much pressure is better than too little. The pressure canner is designed to hold even higher than 15psi.

      I so appreciate your humility with us, asking for help. When I read of all the work you do, I sometimes put you on a pedestal as super gardener and provisioner. Your vulnerability helps me see a different and blessed side of you.

      Carry on

  5. Guinea fowl are also great “intruder alarms”! They make a big racket any time they see something not familiar to them. Also produce eggs pretty much like chickens, just not as large. And they love to eat ticks. So if you’ve got a problem with ticks around your homestead they will absolutely clear them out!

    1. In the last year I have fed a dozen guineas to predators meaner and wilier than them or myself. Not by choice. They were demons on grasshoppers while they lasted, and pretty good alarms, but the arrival yesterday of BIA cops looking for a runaway bad guy made me think that my PC-9 might be more effective.

  6. Lily,
    I recommend you look up Jackie Clay Atkinson. She writes a wonderful Q&A column for Backwoods Magazine. She also has a fantastic canning book that you can buy through their website. It explains everything in simple terms. I use it all the time. I think it is better than the Ball canning book. And dont despair if any of your canning items are a failure, we all have those. When I was first learning to can, I would keep the rings on the jars and weeks later the lids and rings would be rusty and everything would have to be thrown out. I looked at that failure as “training”. You have to train to become an expert at anything! Next year will go better for you. Happy canning!

  7. 12Oct: Lily: Congratulations on jumping to pressure canning! I think you have learned the most important things already; (1) let the steam out for 10 min or so, this removes the air inside the canner; (2) only finger tighten jar lids as the lids must let air out of the jars so a vacuum is created to seal the lid to the jar, and (3) always allow the pressure to dissipate before removing the pressure cock or else the lids may not seal tightly and the jars may break due to the extreme loss of pressure. I turn the heat off and let the canner cool naturally from 30 to 40 minutes. Depending on what I am pressure canning, (if it is late at night) I’ll just turn the heat off and go to bed then open the canner in the early morning to check for a tight seal. (4) Timing is important; veges, sauces, poultry, beef, fish, have different lengths of canning required. Check the internet canning sites for timing for your elevation. If you are not confident about your processing, open a jar or two, put the contents in a pan and heat it up to a simmer/boil and taste it. One spoon full taste test is all you need. If you don’t trust it, you just got a supply of chicken food!

    Mean while, back at our farm, we had a new Tractor Supply store open about 15 miles north of the closest town and we sure are happy about it. Used to have to drive an hour to get to one. Grand Opening had 10% off everything, lots of coupons and some very good special buys plus we got free ball caps.

    Cleared out the last of the garden peppers and dried bunches of them. Cut back all the herbs, potted a few to bring inside, pulled the green onions. I canned up jalapeno relish and cayenne hot sauce, made and canned jalapeno cheese dip and canned mushrooms which were on sale. Been saving all types of seeds for next year’s growing. FD is running now full of beef.

    Now that the weather is cooler my son started work on the retaining wall in the upper garden area. Got the trench dug for the gravel and cement footers. It is going to take a while as it is back breaking work.

    Have a great week!

  8. I pressure can frequently.

    Venting is important because it gets all the air out and leaves only saturated steam. Steam at 230+ degrees has more thermal energy than air at 230+ degrees and the thermal energy is needed to penetrate the jars and food. Also this 10 minutes of venting factors into the overall processing time of the food. The people who figure out the processing times factor in this period of basically water bath canning and the pressurized time assumes the food is already partially heated while venting occurs.

    Bottom line if you don’t vent your food will not reach proper temperature for the proper amount of time because of two mechanisms and botulism is a risk because it is the hardest thing to kill. Botulism is primarily why you pressure can as opposed to water bath low acid foods.

    Cooling should never be accelerated for one of the same reasons. The internal temperature of the food is still potentially killing botulism spores during the cool down phase and the pressurized time assumes this.

    I believe it was Ball just came out with guidance on the minimum amount to pressure can in one batch. https://www.healthycanning.com/minimum-jar-load-pressure-canners/ It explains some of what I just said but maybe better.

    I personally always can at slightly higher pressure than stated. Each pound of pressure increases temperature by about 5 degrees or so if memory serves me correctly. Higher temperature will simply kill more pathagens. It can affect food quality (vice safety) though potentially making things mushy although I have not had that problem. I also always take my pressure to 15 pounds initially which is where the “rocker” starts relieving steam to ensure my pressure gauge is accurate. Sort of a quick calibration check. I then lower to whatever will remain steady as long as it is equal to or above prescribed pressure.

    Bottom line, if something is not properly processed, feed it to the chickens. All these rules were established as people got sick from improperly processed food. Grandma may have gotten away with a lot of stuff with her canning but she also probably got sick and made her family sick a few times and people occasionally died. Not to be gross but they say safety rules are written in blood. Canning rules are written in vomit and diarrhea and occasionally on a corpse.

  9. Lily,

    I do pressure canning on the wood cookstove, and do not worry about pressure fluctuations, as long as the average pressure is at or above the intended pressure. I do not have definitive info about the seriousness of failure to exhaust air, but I am inclined to think it is small.
    After the processing period, it is important to allow the canner to cool slowly, so that the temperature inside the jars will not be significantly higher than in the space in the canner. This is because the pressure inside is determined by temp of the water in the canner, and if you cool the canner quickly the water temp and canner pressure will appear to allow opening it, while the temp inside the jars is still high enough to boil the contents and spoil the seals.
    I leave the canner alone until the gauge actually shows below-zero pressure, then I lift the pressure relief valve and listen for air rushing IN, rather than steam coming out. Often I hear some of the lids “click” to sealed position, before I even get the lid off.
    As far as safety of your not-quite-right jars goes, my rule is to never eat ANY canned food, commercial or home, without boiling it first, which would destroy any botulinum toxin present. We have happily and healthily eaten canned meat 40 years old, with this precaution. If it looks or smells bad, or if seal is bad, the dogs or chickens get it.

    1. Boiling will not destroy botulism toxin any more than boiling arsenic or strichnine will make it safe.

      That is the problem with botulism. The organism is not what gets you. It is the metabolic byproduct of the organism that can make you sick or in rare cases kill you even if the organism is dead. You have to kill the organism before it can generate a significant amount of toxins.

      1. JBH is correct. Do not take chances. I suggested boiling to make sure the processed stew was fully cooked. I hate food waste, too. But, now is the time to practice for times when food is even more precious. Way to go, Lilly.

  10. I certainly hope our window of opportunity for prepping remains open for longer as I am diligently striving to return us to our deep larder preparedness that unexpected events have pried us from. I believe this is why having skills in place is important…practice, practice, practice. I have a peace with having spent the past couple years getting our place back east built and prepared as that is where our son is and where our daughter might need to get to. Now to keep pushing forward here in the Redoubt.

    Picked Rose Hips and will process them into a syrup for apple/rose hip jelly. I’ll freeze the syrup until later when I have more time to make jelly. We don’t eat much jam or jelly, but I think this will be a valuable addition to our stores. When providing all of the families food, sweets are less plentiful and thus more appreciated. We’d be much more likely to enjoy a bit of jelly on some fresh from the oven bread; especially if that jelly was high in vitamin C and butter was not available.

    Burning the “bad” wood right now before the truly cold weather comes. We are continuing to work diligently on our wood stores as we are behind.

    Getting the old snow machines serviced this week. They are an invaluable winter resource and need to be kept in good condition.

    I worked quite a bit in the basement organizing this past month. Happily found our supplies in good order if a bit disorganized. Discovered that I’m short on canning jars, so will keep my eyes peeled for more jars.

    Finally, I’ve been investigating the various properties of evergreens and how to utilize these freebies into our life. Love ideas from this community.

    1. Siphoning is frequently caused by fluctuations in the pressure so when you adjust the heat and the pressure goes down then the pressure goes up that will cause siphoning. Just leave it at 14 psi.

  11. Planted a couple dozen kale plants I started from seedlings. Studied how to save asparagus seeds and am ready to try it when they turn red. I already learned how to save the tomato seeds probably. I’m still dehydrating kale and turnip greens. Two fellows in the area have a field of free turnip greens every fall for the community to pick so I finally got myself over there. Every time I go to Walmart I get a couple tins of sardines, a couple cans of beef stew (even though I can too) and a big bag of rice. Placed another order for headlamps and #10 cans from Emergency Essentials’ sale. I do not want to look back and say, why didn’t I buy more food? An old sea captain, when he heard WWII had started, went out and bought a 50-pound bag of sugar and a large case of peaches because he knew rationing would soon kick in. Am still watching the BBC Series, Wartime Farm, on YouTube. It is SO interesting. My how they suffered for at least six years, with rationing continuing until 1948 on some items! They had a great sense of community because if they didn’t work together, they would all starve. I try to imagine empty shelves and it is just beyond my ability to picture, but I know it could easily happen. Everything is easy now.

    1. To my dear fellow Pressure Canners,

      Thank you so much for your great advice, and encouraging, heartfelt, intuitive, comments!!! You’ve all warmed my heart and have helped me feel better about my terribly depressing canning failures. You’ve helped put a smile back on my face and boosted my desire to try another round of pressure canning this coming week. 😉 May you all be blessed this week and have much success with your future pressure canning endeavors.

      Blessings and virtual hugs to you all,


  12. Lily : I think it is better to err on the side of caution, dig a hole away from any food plants and trees and bury or burn that food. Composting it will spread botulism throughout your garden, feeding it may kill what you feed, if it is there. Canning books recomendations have an overkill factor built into the pressure and timing, but why take the chance. Wash your jars and rings in hot soapy water and soak the jars in quality bleach ( like Clorox brand ) 1 cup bleach to 2 gallons hot water for 20 minutes, then rewash in soap water to get the bleach off. rinse in plain water and let air dry. This may seem extreme, but non-preppers think prepping is extreme, where we consider it common sense. Chock up this years canning as a learning experiance. This is why it is so important to practice using our preps, and relax, you’ll get it. Nobody would expect a shooter to be a marksman the first time they pick up a rifle. If you can stabilize your canner over the pressure minimum, then let it ride. I suggest over the winter to keep praticing by canning some root cellared vegetables, by next spring you’ll be a pro. ( and teach your kids, make it part of homeschooling – remember home-ec class, you don’t have to be an expert, you can all experiance the learning curve together. )

    1. Dear VCC,

      I agree with you. I will be burying the questionable food very far away from the garden and the reach of any animal. I will wash the jars in bleach water, but will also be putting them in my oven at 350 degrees for a half hour, after the dry, to make sure all potential botulism spores will be killed. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I needed them today. 🙂



  13. Lily- I admire you for making your own ketchup. My Grandmother made the best ketchup. Not too sweet, with just the smallest hint of cinnamon flavor in it. I wish I could duplicate it. I like the idea of converting your first batch into barbeque sauce. I often read your posts and enjoy them. Keep us updated on the ketchup.

  14. Lily!!
    I’m so impressed with you! I have it on my To Do list to make ketchup so I’ll pay attention to the spices. I think you’ve received good canning advice from folks. I have an electric stove and I’ll be gosh darned if I can keep the pressure stable. Rule of thumb: it’s always better to can at a higher pressure than too low, and if you didn’t can at recommended pressure for the recommended time, start the process over, or freeze it rather than take any chances. Venting with a strong stream for 10 full minutes, making sure you allow the canner to cool completely down to zero before removing the pressure cap, being careful to set jars out to cool overnight in a non-drafty area, after cooling remove rings and inspect the seals visually, don’t stack canned jars in the pantry on top of one another, etc., all good advice. I’m at 4,000ft elevation so I adjust for that. I always plan to be near the canner when it’s going in order to adjust the stove temperature. I just call it a “canning day” because I know I can’t do much else that day. I’ve been pressure canning a lot lately. The local market had a huge sale and I picked up 30 lbs of Idaho russet potatoes for $1.76. My potato crop was dismal. I also picked up 30 lbs of apples for a few bucks and have started a couple gallons of apple cider vinegar. The remaining apples will be cooked up with cinnamon and sugar for apple fritters or apple bread/muffins, then frozen. I’ve been canning for months now, and I still picked up a case of organic green beans, several cases of sweet corn, several cases of pineapple, a case of mandarin oranges at the local case lot sale (half price!). It sounds like a lot of food, but when you put a pencil and paper to it, or in my case an electronic spreadsheet, I’m only stocked up enough to take 1 person through 1 year. So, it’s not enough for an entire family. The thing I’m concentrating on this year is tracking the food inventory and actually USING what’s in the pantry. I have previously wasted a lot of food. My lesson learned: put up what you eat, and eat what you put up. I fermented some tomatoes as well as canned, and I just pulled some fermented tomatoes out of the refrigerator to make Elk chili and it was delicious! I also had fun making Feta cheese using a local rancher’s delicious Jersey milk. I marinated the Feta in olive oil and Italian spices (in pint jars) and refrigerated. MMMMMmmmm is that cheese good. Besides canning… I have to get the tulip bulbs in the ground before it gets seriously cold here in Idaho. I’m a couple of weeks late on that task. Gotta have flowers!! I moved my sewing room to the loft, christened it the Sewing Center, so there’s plenty of room for quilting. Winter time is quiltin’ time! Family is in process of building a 4 season permanent greenhouse and we are racing to beat the clock. I’ll update y’all on the progress. We have high hopes.
    Lilly, as one of my university professors used to say to me: KEEP GOING! That helped me so much. It wasn’t about doing things perfectly, it was just about putting one foot in front of the other. You’re doing great!!!

  15. The crock pot works great for finishing off your ketchup, just put it on high and leave the lid off. Takes longer but no worries about burning and doesn’t get bitter like a kettle. We made about 20 pints this year. I do cook it most of the way down before adding spices, depending on preference we replace the sugar with some kind of sugar free sweetener.
    I don’t like to give pressure canning advice but I will say I live at 6000′ and everything we pressure can is done at 15 PSI. If your stew has meat in it you must used the guidelines for canning meat.

  16. Dear Avalanche Lily,

    In reference to pressure canning, I’m a total newbie. While poking around last summer in the lobby of our county extension agent, I came across a lot of helpful canning information. I also learned that they will gladly test your pressure canner gauges annually, at no charge. I thought that was a pretty cool thing!

    I’m so sorry about your ketchup… I have had similar losses. It isn’t JUST the ketchup loss that’s so frustrating, is it? It is all the hours you spent planting, tending, harvesting, then preparing. Ugh! I have certainly been there a time or two myself. Just recently I inadvertently tossed out two large containers full of pear pulp from my freezer. (I thought it was something else.) When I realized, all I could think about was how much time I spent harvesting and seeding all those teensy pears. I learned a valuable lesson that I must *always* label things. (I think I will remember months later, but clearly that is NOT the case!)

    Your comment about the window of opportunity closing soon really resonates with me. It is odd that both my husband and I are suddenly feeling this sense of urgency to inventory our supplies. While he has focused more on things within his realm of expertise, I have been busy determining inventory for our food, spices, seeds, garden tools, etc.. Both of us have expressed some surprise that we feel we are nearing a point of completion. What God impressed upon our hearts more than a decade ago is now almost done. For a decade, I continued to feel prompted to push on, do more, learn more. Back then, I would never have thought it would take me an entire decade to get these things ready. But God knew. And now, I am not getting promptings other than to “consolidate”. So that is what I am doing: Consolidating, organizing, and waiting on Him.

    Orderliness helps facilitate clear thinking, peace, and calm…and I can’t help but wonder if I am being promoted to organize now because the days to come will be too hectic to offer the luxury of spare time for organizing.

    Keep on keepin’ on! (And don’t forget to add one more Amazon order for yummy powdered coconut milk and stone ground grits for the pantry!). 😉

  17. I have been pressure canning for 39 years. Not an expert but definitely experienced. I’m so glad you’ve begun this journey. Pressure canning allows you to preserve your food for long periods of time as well as control what is in it. When the pressure varies quite a bit you can lose liquid in your jars. As long as they’re sealed when you remove them from the canner they’re safe to eat IF the pressure didn’t drop below the minimum. We’re at a higher altitude so I prefer to can at 15 lbs pressure and frequently go 5 minutes longer, just to be sure. If the pressure drops below the minimum , then start the timing again. I once had a canner full of green beans when the power went out. I was devastated because of all the work I had put in it. I called the country extension service and she said that as long as the canner was still hot I would be safe to just start over once the power came back on. Relief! There is a learning curve but really , pressure canning is quite easy. I used to have a guage but now prefer the weighted guages as I can go about my work and just listen for the jiggle . keep up the good work. I think you’ll become sold on the joys of pressure canning

  18. I love my fully electric Carey canner. It is just easy to use, and will do 4 quarts or 5 pints. It cost less than a hundred bucks. It won’t do a lot at time, but I just program it, close the vent at the right time, and i just walk away or good to bed as it does the whole pressure can system and turns itself off when done.

    I didn’t get more than 30 quarts done in 2019, in our first year gardening here, due to low production, but feels good just seeing the beets and plum syrup on the shelves. I use pints of plum syrup as neighborhood networking supplies.

    I finally have a full side of our food production area completed with elk proof fencing, 10 feet high, with 1.25 inch mesh, 240 feet long now, and another side 100 feet long nearly complete. Only 330 feet left to go, on 2 more sides.

    We’ve had to start wood stove heating 3 weeks earlier than usual. I’m getting more wood. Hard frosts all week, way early for our area.

    And our best prep of the week: younger daughter in the Redoubt birthed a 9 pound 8 ounce Patriot boy. He is cousin to a Patriot girl born in August.

    May God Bless us all.

    Isaiah 12. Geneva Bible.

    1. Congratulations on the additions to your family. Babies are the beginning and end of it all. There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing a baby. It’s like a reminder that the world will go on even when it feels like my spirit can’t. I hope you get to kiss and snuggle with both babies to your hearts content!

  19. I decided to jump on this ban wagon of canning also. First let me say that no one is more concerned of food safety than myself. As a fairly new canner, I have been concerned as yourself with botulism. On research, you will find that it is very rare. This quote came from the CDC site this morning.” From 1996 to 2014, there were 210 outbreaks of foodborne botulism reported to CDC. Of the 145 outbreaks that were caused by home-prepared foods, 43 outbreaks, or 30%, were from home-canned vegetables. These outbreaks often occurred because home canners did not follow canning recommendations,”One thing that all canning sites tell you is that if you are in doubt, reprocess, or store in frig. and eat. You could cook meals also, and freeze to be eaten at a later date. It is apparent to me that canning recommendations are constantly being upgraded. I just found out this morning that canning squash is not recommended, as well as concern when processing beans that the number in the jar is not over packed. Bottom line here is education. When consulting older canners, it is great for basic skills, but they may not be up on the latest recommendations either. Case in point being they might not know to add lemon juice to tomatoes, etc. Botulism is found in the soil to begin with. I do not believe you are going to contaminate your soil with something that is naturally already there. It is the environment in those poorly processed jars that fosters the toxins that do us harm. Botulism is also found in honey and is why you do not give to infants under the age of two. Think about where these spores came from to begin with. The CDC recommends double bagging and taping shut as the practice for discarding spoiled foods.

    On a side note here. I was raised on a southern farm by a mother that never used a pressure canner. We ate multiple jars of green beans every year that were water bath canned. On top of that, she canned pork tenderloin by water bath and we never once got sick. While we never canned sausage, I know a lot of families that did. I have never heard of anyone getting sick from these poor practices. This morning I read that it was no longer recommended that you eat jams, and jellies that have mold growing on top. Most people just scrap it off and continue the jar. When I think of all the southern people I know that kept these jars on their table, I am amazed. These practices came from times of no refrigeration. It’s not that they thought they were risky. It was the only way they knew. My mother didn’t have a pressure canner and never knew she needed one. I can’t tell you how many old folks homes I have been in that kept their sunday lunch covered on their stoves and ate it for dinner that night. Is this something I would do? No way.
    In conclusion this site is always teaching us to educate ourselves. When it comes to food safety and best practices it appears this is a constantly evolving process. I do not know if there are extension agents in your county, but here they are valuable people to help with these issues. I believe one or two have already commented on this. The University of Georgia seems to be in the fore front on this subject as well as the CDC.

    There are germs everywhere. Everyone has to decide what they are comfortable with for their families safety.

  20. Having pressure canned more quarts of garden bounty than I can remember, I have moved almost entirely to drying.

    No fear of botulism, WAY less labor intensive, less space required for storage, and no fuel consumption if you use the sun to dry your food.

    Carry on

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