Monday, October 01, 2012

Yes, I can!

Don't worry, this has nothing to do with politics or the current election season.

I've made strawberry freezer jam for several years now, but wanted to try my hand at some "real" canning this year.  So far I have done whole roma tomatoes, peach slices (in juice,) 2 varieties of applesauce, dill pickles, my usual strawberry freezer jam, and plum jam. 

The main thing I have learned is that it is a whole lot easier than I thought it would be.  I wish I'd tried it sooner.  (Except for the tomatoes that is... I'm not doing tomatoes again, they were kind of a pain and they taste no different than store bought canned tomatoes to me, so what's the point.)  The plum jam and applesauce are AWESOME though. And we haven't tried the pickles or peaches yet, so I'll let yas know.  ;)  I love opening the cupboard and seeing these beautiful jewel toned jars of wholesome foods put up for a rainy day.  

And I do see those storm clouds brewing.  We have been very blessed to be able to live comfortably on a single income and I know that for today's world we enjoy considerable job security.  But many, many people right now are without work. We, in the US, are also dealing with extensive drought conditions that are (and will  continue) effecting the cost of food to feed our families.  I don't want to be all doom and gloom or have anyone thinking I'm preparing for the zombie apocalypse, but it gives me a sense of security to develop some skills that could help me better stretch our resources should the need arise.  A few other things I've done this year- besides canning- are: 

-Got into better physical shape (to limit preventable medical conditions that incur high medical costs.)
-Grew a few foods in our backyard garden.
-Took the Heartsaver CPR and First Aid class. (I only wish I had done this before Toby sliced his fingertip.)
-Prepared a 72 hour kit in case we would need to leave our home in the event of an emergency. (Hurricanes and tornadoes are both possibilities where we live.)
-Began to plan and implement long-term food and water storage.
-Began to remove more processed foods from our diets and make more healthy alternatives from scratch.

Here are a few things I still want to do:
-Take a class on basic mending and clothing alterations. (This is coming up soon and I am excited!)
-I want to try pressure canning- but pressure canners are expensive, so I'm on the lookout for a used one.
-I want to learn to make soap.
-I want to bake something in a solar oven.  (For as warm as it is here, solar cooking is probably possible 10 months out of the year- in Germany it's probably possible like 2 months out of the year.)
-I want chickens.  (This one is going to have to wait a few years though I'm sure.)

Doesn't that sound like FUN?!?!?  (I can hear the groans from some of you.)  But seriously, I am enjoying learning my old timey homesteading-traditional-whatever-you-want-to-call-it skills.  In many parts of the world, this is still how things are done and it can't hurt to learn.  If you want more info, these are a few of my favorite resources:

The Prudent Homemaker- this lady's story is crazy inspiring

And one final thought, if you have read this far...
Being self prepared is really ingrained in Mormons. I think because of our pioneer heritage and because we believe so strongly in helping others... if you are not prepared in a crisis, you will not be able to help anyone else either.  Dieter F. Uchtdorf said it better than I can, “Too often we notice the needs around us, hoping that someone from far away will magically appear to meet those needs. … When we do this, we deprive our neighbor of the service we could render, and we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to serve.”  Huh.  Maybe this does have something to do with my political feelings after all.  :)


Mandy Benton said...

Julie, you are amazing!! I would love to learn to can! I am always very conscious of our dependence on grocery stores for all our food and I want to start gardening. Greg thinks a lot about what we would do in an economic collapse, esp. since we're living in a very populated area. It makes me want to move way out in the country and be more self sustaining. We think about that. A Lot. I need to take a first aid class. You've inspired me in many ways!

Aubrey said...

Way to go, Julie!

It's amazing to me to think that my 92-year-old Grandma (who still lives on a farm all by herself) could TEACH each and every course you (and I!) want to take. She must be deeply ashamed of how little useful knowledge her granddaughter possesses.