Canning vs. Freezing vs. Drying

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Karen, Aug 17, 2004.

  1. Karen

    Karen Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm one of those that always keeps well stocked and we can approx. 500-700 jars of food a year, plus I also dry a lot of items. I keep seeing so many people who freeze so much. Personally, I like frozen foods better than canned; however, I'm kind of leary in case we lose electricty for days on end since we don't have a generator. It would be a huge economic loss; so that's why I mostly can and dry food. I also appreciate how dry foods last so long and take up less space. What are your long term food preservation preferences?
     
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  2. Mrs_stuart

    Mrs_stuart Well-Known Member

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    Karen, I do a lot of canning, and dehydrating too. We freeze too...
    I didn't always though. I freeze a lot of fruit and some veggies not to mention my meat. I decided to start freezing so i didn't lose any food...always so much coming in out of the garden at the same time. Then when i have time and it isn't so hot, i go back and can some of it and use some of it from the freezer. If i do that in the later fall and early winter, the extra Heat from the kitchen is welcome not like all summer.

    As far as electric outages, i have noticed, that almost every time, it is in the middle of winter with the outages. And you can just move "frozen" stuff out in the freezing out of doors and not lose anything if you have an extended powerage outage. But Your freezer will keep your items frozen for about 2 days without power if you keep the lid closed and dont open it. We have never been without electric for more than that amount of time and haven't lost anything. I also figure, that if that did happen, I would start canning as it thawed and all would be good. That brings me to the canning lids and jars, If you decide to freeze a lot, always keep lots of extra jars, rings and flats around just in case you need them.

    Be prepared and do what you feel comfortable with.

    Belinda
     
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  3. ozarkin'it

    ozarkin'it Well-Known Member

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    all the boxes say to not reuse the center circles when you can. Do you? or do you just buy 700 new circles every year?
     
  4. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    The newer lids have such a thin rim of rubber stuff that it is hard to get a good seal once around. I do save the lids to put back on the washed jar to keep dust and spiders out till needed again. Then toss them.

    I too like to put stuff in the freezer to can later. Sometimes you just don't get enough at one time to mess with or stuff you would like to mix doesn't all come in together. I like to can meat if I have a good bit. It doesn't keep that well in the freezer for prolonged storage. I dry a good bit of garden stuff as well. I don't like canned corn or green beans so I prefer to freeze those. Canned tomatoes are better than frozen. Peaches and apples are good either frozen or canned and I like dried fruit too.
     
  5. coalroadcabin

    coalroadcabin Well-Known Member

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    How I preserve food depends on the food:
    I freeze-meat, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, green peppers and corn
    I can-green beans, tomatoes, peaches, beets, pickle relish, and cabbage
    I dry-hot peppers, oregano, basil and parsley
    We don't do anything to the potatoes and onions, just store them in the basement.

    BTW, I am impressed! 500-700 jars of food is a lot!! I feel bad complaining about the measley amount that I can. Next time I'm feeling grumpy because I've been in the kitchen all day chained to the canner, I'm gonna remember you! :)
     
  6. Buckrun

    Buckrun Well-Known Member

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    Belinda
    Do you plan on canning on a wood stove or do you have gas stove? I hadn't thought of gas when I first read your post. I just thought if the power went out how you going to heat stuff? :eek:

    Steve
     
  7. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    We went to a lot of trouble to get an older model (not frost free) chest freezer. In fact, I love this thing so much I'd probably pay any price to have the motor rebuilt! The reason we bought it is you can put it in an unheated space. And it sits out in our garage. So during the winter, let it storm, because if our power goes out our stuff is sitting out there at 0 degrees F on an ice cold cement slab. Spoilage is not something I worry about! And I can once in a while just to make sure I keep the skill up... but mostly, it goes in the freezer.
     
  8. Night Owl

    Night Owl Active Member

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    I've been wondering this same thing. I have never canned or frozen anything. We are just becoming gradually more self sufficient. We love the garden all season, which is really long here in CA. But we complain about supermarket junk all winter. Even in the winter, I buy only fresh produce. The only canned I've ever used was peaches and cranberries for Thanksgiving dessert and canned corn on occasion for chicken/corn soup.
    Eating canned food never seemed very appealing to me, but I've not heard of many homesteaders freezing.
    Maybe canned tomatoes are good for sauces, but I would think frozen might taste more like fresh.
    I look forward to more on this thread.
    Best to all,
    Tina
     
  9. coalroadcabin

    coalroadcabin Well-Known Member

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    Actually NightOwl, canned tomatoes taste "fresher" to me than frozen. Frozen tomatoes tend to get really mushy-IMO.
    And it may be my southern upbringing but I cannot stand frozen green beans! Some things like peas and corn are better when they are frozen though and most berries are better frozen too. Again, my opinion.
    This brings up a question (maybe a bit off topic, so I aplogize) Occasionally, bananas go on sale here for a really low price and I was wondering if anyone has ever frozen them? I've made bread and muffins with them and frozen those but never tried the whole fruit by itself. It would be nice to take advantage of sales, but you can only eat so many bananas before they go bad. Any other fruits that freeze well?
     
  10. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    i also do all 3, meat i always freeze ,and some is made into jerky, when we have a cowi have one of those vacuum sealers, and it works great
    carrots ,broccoli,peas,cauliflour, are all frozen, as is corn , some on the cob, some cut niblets
    i pickle cucmbers,about 4 dozen jars ( cause what else are they good for besides fresh ?)
    i dry some carrots broccoli and peas, for soups, as well as peppers and onions,string garlic, dry herbs of course

    tomatoes are canned about 10-12 dozen jars ,more if possible
    beets, i only can a few quarts of pickled beets, maybe a dozen or so cause they really arent
    i do can some chow chow, both hot and sweet,
    havent tried catsup , but its in the works
    i can and freeze fruit, depending what it is , i can peaches, plus make peach butter, and freeze some
    other fruits, well , berries are frozen , apples are root cellared, some are cut and frozen , or processed into applesauce and canned

    my experiments with saurkraut have been dismal , so i dont bother to grow more than 3-4 heads of cabbage, and a couple of red cabbage for a special recipe i have with spaghetti and cabbage ( sounds gross, but its good), its not one of my familys fave foods, except on hotdogs, occ. and cabbage for corned beef
    so thats just cold stored, potatoes, i rarely grow more than what we need for fresh spring potatoes but that might change next year
    i guess thats about it ...

    i think im with everyone else, its kind of a mix of all preservation methods
    Beth
     
  11. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    i but bananas , and peel them , freeze them in ziplocs, 2 to a bag, they freeze just fine, i use them in breads and smoothies for the kids, hey, when they are 25 cents a pound, why not stock up???
     
  12. Karen

    Karen Well-Known Member Supporter

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    coalroadcabin, you can freeze bananas just fine. Don't peel them. Just pop the whole banana into the freezer -- you don't even have to bag them if you leave the peel on. The peel will turn black as coal, but the banana will be perfect inside!
     
  13. Mrs_stuart

    Mrs_stuart Well-Known Member

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    Buckrun,

    I have a 1950's, gas, castiron (covered in enamal) chamber stove that i so love.
    I use it for cooking all the time but not for baking ( i use it for baking in fall and winter only because it heats the whole thing up for hours...) If the power goes out, the stove never does...lol.

    Belinda
     
  14. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

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    "Occasionally, bananas go on sale here for a really low price and I was wondering if anyone has ever frozen them? I've made bread and muffins with them and frozen those but never tried the whole fruit by itself. It would be nice to take advantage of sales, but you can only eat so many bananas before they go bad. Any other fruits that freeze well?"

    I just bought a bunch of bananas on sale. Went ahead and mashed them up, then froze them in 2 c. ziploc bags. You can freeze them whole but I generally use them in breads and they need to be mashed anyway - so I do them all at once.

    I love frozen grapes. And I dry cantelope and bananas. Dried cantelope is very sweet - I eat it as is. Same with bananas. I can apples (applesauce). Freeze and can peaches (freeze for cobblers, can to eat straight). Freeze strawberries and make jam. Dry figs.
     
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  15. nostalgia

    nostalgia Well-Known Member

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    We like tomatoes, peppers, applesauce, apple butter, apple slices, green tomatoes, green beans, all canned best. But prefer most fruits, meats, corn on cob, nuts, to be frozen.

    There is only 2 of us so I don't can as much as most of you. Although we do can extra for our parents, brothers family, and for Christmas gifts.

    I have always frozen deer meat but I think this year I will try canning some of the stew meat and see if we like it better.

    I really admire Karen and all of you who can huge amounts of foods. :)
     
  16. simpleliving

    simpleliving Active Member

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    First a question: If canning jars have not been used for several years and stored in an attic, are they safe to use?

    I use to freeze most foods until about 5 years ago... we were with out electricty for about 10 days due to an ice storm, but it wasn't cold enough outside to keep everything frozen being that I live in the south. anyways lost everything in the freezer. Since then I can or dry most foods. I learned not to store the can goods in an uncontrolled climate (like the garage). I lost several cans one year.


    Canned foods: green beans, corn, squash, butter beans, green tomato relish, black eye peas, jams/jelly, apple sauce, apple pie filling, peach pie filling, blueberry pie filling, pears, mixed veggies, tomato juice, tomato sauce, salsa. potatoes, beef stew, chicken broth, beef broth, chicken noodle soup, pickle relish, squash relish, pickles, Meats (chicken, beef)

    Frozen foods: corn on the cob, okra, nuts and anything that I cann that doesn't seal properly.

    Dry foods: peppers, onions, apples, carrots.

    I have 3 teenage dd's and last year we canned over 1,000 jars. I buy new tips/flats/center pieces each year. I only replace the rings once they are so rusted that it's hard to get them on/off. At the end of each summer big lots and wal-mart mark those items down to .25 or .50 so I stock up for the next year.

    We are a family of 5 and our grocery bill runs about $30 a week.
     
  17. Karen

    Karen Well-Known Member Supporter

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    As long as there are no chips or cracks, they are perfectly safe. Canning jars will usually last a couple lifetimes! Just wash them well in hot soapy water and rinse well.

    Remember that as long as you have all the surface grime and dirt cleaned off, since it is glass, your getting most all the germs and bad guys with it. They don't stick to glass very well. Also remember that during the canning process your killing any remaining remaining bacteria, germs and bad guys on the jars, as well as the food, which is why your doing the canning process. It isn't just to seal the jars, but rather to destroy all bacteria.

    This is also why you don't need to boil your jars prior to packing them with food if your going to be processing them (either by boiling bath or pressure) if they will be processed for more than 10 minutes. Although, I'm kind of a canning cleanliness nut and I just feel better when I sterilize older jars. Don't ask me why! I know the same bad stuff is on new one as the old ones (probably more when you consider all the machinery and who handled those before I got them). Just some sort of mental block I guess about new versus old. :D
     
  18. Barb

    Barb Well-Known Member

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    I've never frozen grapes, in fact never heard of it until these forums. But grapes are on sale now and I'd like to try it. Just throw them in after washing? Do you thaw before eating or eat frozen? Do they get mushy if allowed to thaw all the way and used in salads?

    I freeze bananas also. I mush and measure for banana bread and put into cottage cheese or smaller amounts in old margarine tubs containers. It looks yucky when thawing but works real well.
     
  19. Buckrun

    Buckrun Well-Known Member

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    I always boil my jars before I fill them. I just feel better about useing clean hot jars.
    Steve
     
  20. mvfarms91

    mvfarms91 Well-Known Member

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    I have frozen bananas before just peeled and vacuum packed but I like the idea of keeping peel on and freezing.

    I have a question about apples.. The farmer down the road is selling apples from his orchard. He just put his sign out so I don't know the price but I was figuring I would buy quite a few and store. Can you all point me in the right direction for canning, freezing, etc. these apples. I don't have a dehydrator, but I do have cans and freezer bags. I don't have a pressure canner (could borrow one if necessary)

    Also how would you all save summer squash, freeze or can, and if you freeze how to you prepare it.

    Thanks bunches,
    Susie