Fall has come and gone since I’ve posted anything to this blog I so love. Ironically enough, this Fall was completely food-focused. I suppose that tends to happen when you decide to plant a bigger garden than ever before (and it was still small). Consequently, end of summer/fall is super busy!

I am so thrilled that I can now say I fully know how to can and preserve food. I don’t know how quick of a study I was, but my mom was always there to answer my texts, calls and repetitive questions. I remember being a little kid and my mom spending hours in her huge garden. The end of the summer was filled with days where she and her friend Pauline would get together and help each other can or freeze whatever was ripe at the time. My grandma and aunts did the same thing. I was over the moon this fall when my mom said, “Grandma would be so happy. She always hoped you’d learn how to can.” Growing and preserving our food has now become so important to our health and also our budget. But more than that, I feel like I’m preserving a little of our family heritage. It is hard work, but I love it.

So here’s my tally for this year:
– 27 pints of salsa
– 4 pints of roasted tomatoes (frozen in 1/2 c. portions)
– 8 loaves of zucchini bread (frozen)
– 32 quarts of green beans
– 18 pints of diced tomatoes
– 22 cups of pumpkin (frozen in 2 c. portions)
– 6 cups of pesto (frozen in 1 c. portions)
– 1 gallon whole Roma tomatoes (frozen)
– 2 gallons cherry tomatoes (frozen)
– 21 quarts of marinara sauce
– 6 c. green peppers (diced and frozen in 1/2 c. portions)

We had a lot of onions, green onions too, and are still using them (we’re almost out!!). Our garden carrots are gone and we’re on the last of the potatoes (My mom and dad grow the potatoes – we just don’t have the room). We also grew & enjoyed a lot of delicious lettuce, mint, and chives. I didn’t keep track of the Anaheim peppers or jalapenos – we mainly used them as they were ripe. Oh, and I can’t forget my whopping 2 artichokes.

I’m already thinking of what I want to plant for next year, and have made notes of what I’d do differently:
– Goodbye artichokes. I’m sad to see you go, but we just don’t have the long growing season you need and your plants took up too much real estate.
– Less tomatoes
– More green beans, onions and carrots
– No peppers
I’ll stop there…this isn’t a gardening blog, now is it? Grin.

Writing this post brings back such fond memories. It is a grand feeling to step back and see your shelves full of food that is healthy and inexpensive. It must be a little like childbirth – you forget the labor and hours of hard work and instead relive the satisfaction of how it feels to pull a jar off the shelf and go make dinner.