Food on the Shelf

Here is what we’ve been up to – adding food to the shelf. We have plans for more to come including cowpeas, chili, tomatoes, tomato sauce, green beans, sunflowers and amaranth. Not everything will end up in jars, but will be on the shelf in some fashion. Food. The essence of life.



These are the best tasting beets we have ever grown.

Green beans – a basic staple

Winnowing amaranth
Amaranth for our bread

Thelma Sanders winter squash

Winter squash and pinto bean harvest

Communication is always essential.
Our first apple crop. These are wind falls.

The tomatoes are being frozen for future canning.
The more food we put on the shelf, the more content we feel about feeding ourselves for a few more months. That’s a great feeling. Enjoy your harvest, whether it be a garden or a grocery store. 
Stay vigilant. Stay away from crowds. Be ready for anything, it just feels near.
Until next time – Fern

31 thoughts on “Food on the Shelf

  1. Charlotte, this is Fern. We canned milk once years ago. I didn't skim the cream off first and it separated after canning. We didn't like it much. The milk sugars had caramelized and it kind of had a burnt milk flavor. We fed it to the animals.Has anyone else out there canned milk? Please let us know how you did it.Good question, Charlotte. Thank you! Fern

  2. Fern, I notice you have canned a lot of winter squash. It's beautiful! What are some of the ways you use it, if you don't mind sharing?

  3. When I was in Oklahoma County the squash bugs were awfu. I ordered CASERTA from Baker Creek. The squash bugs never touched it, even when I didnt have any zukes left. Here in the mountains of Az. same thing squash bugs all over my zukes none on the Caserta.

  4. Do you have vine borers in your squash, CW? We have to combat them every year along with the squash bugs.We also ran into the 'needing rain' situation a while back. We have only had to water a little compared to most years. It rained again day before yesterday, 1.6\”. Enjoy the harvest. It is a choice blessing. Fern

  5. The beets we grow are Lutz Green Leaf Beet from R.H. Shumway. Why they are so much better this year than other years? I am not sure. We can them in water with 1/2 tsp. per pint. I know other folks that like to can pickled beets, but we prefer ours plain.We have never had any experience with ground squirrels, but any animal that gets in our garden we eliminate, usually by shooting.Thank you for the comment and the encouragement, Fern

  6. Great to see that you are filling your shelves with more canned goods! As you know my garden, like so many others, got a late start this summer. So far we have really benefited from our perennials; asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries have done well. Our cherry treeproduced enough fruit that we could enjoy a few tasty desserts, but not enough for jams. Yesterday was the first day for purple pod string beans. We have had issues with our zucchini plants wilting and dying one by one. I pulled the deads and replanted in new location so will see if the problem pursists with new plants. Tomatoes are slow to ripen this year but we are hopeful. As strange as it sounds after experiencing an extremely wet spring, we are in serious need of some nice gentle rains…yes, rain. I'm very thankful for what we do have and will supplement with produce from other sources. So glad we are still able to do that, but I know it may not be possible in the not too distant future. Thank you all for sharing, CWfromIowa

  7. Well….we haven't really stored any yet. This is a brand new process for us. The things I have read say to make sure the seeds are good and dry before storing so they won't mold. We have decided what type of container to keep them in since we don't know how large the harvest will be yet. Probably a jar on the shelf, but I doubt in the freezer.As I have harvested, dried and winnowed some of the seed heads, I have been saving the chaff and small stems for the goats. Not all of the goats will eat them now, and they were slow to try them at first, but now I cut up the heads (minus the seeds) and feed them a small amount after they finish their grain. If I leave the heads in tact, they are too big and the goats won't eat them at all.At the end of the season hope to cut or pull the main stalks and hang them to dry, then chop and feed them to the goats in the winter. That endeavor is yet to be seen. Who knows how that will turn out?? Wish us luck!Fern

  8. We enjoy hearing what other folks are preserving, Chipmunk, thank you for sharing your efforts. The more comments I read about others activities, the more motivated I am to keep it up. Thank you!Fern

  9. I have marked the page, but haven't had time to watch it yet, BJ. There are sometimes small important things to be learned within the context of unrelated topics. Thanks for sharing a resource.Fern

  10. We are very sorry to hear about your garden, Nina. We didn't think the okra was ever going to produce more than a small meal at a time, but we've finally been able to start freezing some.We read some folks like Vicki that can many different store bought foods. For now, that's one way to put preferred food on the shelf, even if there is not the opportunity to grow it yourself.I think we will all be very hard pressed to produce and preserve an adequate diet should that 'run to the store' no longer be available. Hang in there. There is a lesson in every success and every failure. Learn them well.Fern

  11. You know, Judy, sometimes the work to prepare the food for canning seems pretty tedious. But once it's on the shelf, you're right, it is so worth every effort. Thank you for the comment.Fern

  12. Frank & Fern, Your pantry is looking mighty good. Our weather has warmed up to normal temps and our garden is starting to produce. We are canning green beans today. We also picked our first tomato yesterday and there are lots of green ones on the vine. Life without food won't be very pleasant. Having a deep larder is of high concern for us especially if there any food shortages.As you mentioned , food on the shelf creats lots of contentment.The recent shootings will certainly fan the flames of unpleasantness and divisiveness in our country. Bluesman

  13. Your beets look beautiful. Best tasting? What kind are they? I'd like to can beets with a litte sweet/sour flavor, but don't want it to take over the natural sweet and earthy taste of beets. Any suggestions? Also, our ground squirrels have gotten adventuresome and have climbed up into our raised beds (lined with hardware cloth), and destroyed sweet potatoes, onions and marigolds. Any suggestions? I am trying to trap them, but they're smart. I love reading your blog, please keep writing. Thank you!

  14. Fran, how do you store your amaranth seeds? I bought some for next year and I don't know if I should store them in the freezer. Also do you dry the plants for your goats in the winter? If so how do you do dry them? Thanks,

  15. Wow, you've been busy! I've been harvesting tomatoes, a little corn, and herbs. Canned some milk and meat, and dehydrating onions in case there are shortages this winter due to the crop problems in the midwest. Figs are starting to ripen, which is a great treat. I'll probably dehydrate any we don't eat right away.

  16. Bad weather this spring. 2 Concords (10 year) died (may not have been weather). 2 old (40 year) Concords a little slow this spring, no grapes. (15 year) Concord fine, but only one bunch of grapes. I added a seedless Concord/cross this spring. (12 year) La Crescent fine, only has 4 bunches. 8 year Red Swendson almost dead. Somerset dead. Watching 7 more young vines, don't know how they will do. Frontenac Gris, Marquette, Brianna, Itasca.

  17. I watched this interview again and feel that it may be a waste of your time – too much stocks, bonds and politics and not enough food insurance. Just scan the text to see if you are interested before investing your time watching. Sorry! BJ in GA

  18. I watched this interview yesterday by Greg Hunter of with Catherine Austin Fitts on \”Radical Economic Reengineering after the 2020 Election\” and would like to recommend it to you. Several takeaways but one that really stood out was buy farmland and grow your own food and the reasoning behind it. BJ in GA

  19. Today we harvested 15 pounds of grapes from our lone grape vine. It is a Concord grape. We planted seedless \”table grapes\” but they keep dying. We are planning this winter to take cuttings to grow more vines. I am simmering the grapes to extract the juice for canning. I've canned black-eyed peas from our garden, and green beans too this year, along with beef stew, chicken soup and veg beef soup. Most of the ingredients from our garden, but the protein was purchased. I feel a thread of continuity when I do these things, remembering both my grandmothers had home canned food on their shelves. It's part of my heritage, and it does feel satisfying to see those filled jars on the shelves.

  20. Hubby and I have NEVER had as bad a garden year as this one. It was cold late in the year, then when we could finally get our garden out, it rained forever, then immediately, the heat took over. All that on clay soil has really messed us up this year. I'll be scraping the barrel just to get a little canned. It makes me nervous too because I really felt a need to preserve as much as I could this year but . . . you do what you can! I've got a second crop of beans out that don't look too bad and the corn did fairly well, but I could sit down and cry over my tomatoes. Obviously, I LOVE tomatoes!! Luckily, I had extra last year and just threw them in the freezer so that will help out. Seriously though, it's made me think about people who can't or don't garden. How do they do it? Also, I think of those that in years past tried so hard and could barely scrape a garden out of their land. For now we can run to the store but just imagine what they had to deal with. When I get a little down about it all I realize just how truly blessed we are. It will all be okay one way or the other. I prefer my way but at least I'm still able to deal with the situation and I thank God for that!

  21. Yes, canning, freezing and dehydrating at our place this summer. What we have seen around here with grocery shelves…We sure don't want to depend on that for food. Stay safe, keep insuring our pantries, Frank, Fern and Vicki….God Bless

  22. Insurance. That's a good way to put it, Vicki. I know you are on a canning 'vacation' from your blog. I think you can more than anyone I read. Feels great, doesn't it?Take care, Fern

  23. We insure our vehicles. We insure our homes. We insure our health. It just makes sense to have as much food insurance a possible. Looks to me like you have been busy doing just that. I am impressed.

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