Friday, June 8, 2012

Preserving the Harvest

Tomatoes and Cucumbers from our Garden.

For the past few weeks we have really been enjoying the harvest.  My kids love the fact that they can eat a whole cucumber by themselves for a snack. We have had tomato sandwiches almost everyday for lunch, tomato slices every night for dinner, and last night we had spaghetti with sauce made from all the yummy things from our garden. It has been amazing to eat all of these fresh things from our garden. I just love it!

Newly preserved Pickles and Beets.

My daughter and I were reading the story of Joseph of Egypt last night. I paid particular attention to a few verses from the 41st chapter of Genesis:

"Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, dreamed dreams which greatly troubled him. The wise men of his court could not give an interpretation. Joseph was then brought before him: “Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river:
“And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow:
“And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed. …
“And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine: …
“And I saw in my dream … seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good:
“And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them:
“And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: …
“And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, … God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.
“The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. …
“… What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh.
“Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt:
“And there shall arise after them seven years of famine;
“… And God will shortly bring it to pass” (Gen. 41:17–20, 22–26, 28–30, 32).

I was reminded of the importance of saving some of what you are given in times of plenty for the leaner times. This has always been an important principle of  Self Reliance and Provident Living taught to us by prophets of God.

Jacob and I both grew up in canning families. We learned to can and other methods of preservation from a young age. I remember helping my mom in the kitchen as she canned bottle upon bottle of peaches, beets, beans, tomatoes, etc. In this way we were able to enjoy the harvest throughout the unfruitful days of winter.  My growing family has relied heavily on my mother's abundance of canned fruits and veggies throughout the years and I have always enjoyed the ability that I have to do this as well. This harvest has been no exception, as much as we are enjoying eating all of the fresh veggies, I have also been canning to preserve these wonderful things for a time when they are not as abundant.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing my recipes and methods for canning some of the things I have been preserving.  It is important especially if you have never canned before to have some background knowledge of basic canning rules and methods.  Not all vegetables and fruits can be preserved in the same way and so to ensure the safety and health of your family it is important to follow properly researched methods for canning each item.  If you are just starting out as a  home canner here is a link to an excellent resource for good canning practices. I have used this resource from the Utah State University Extension often. Another excellent resource is the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Good luck with your canning! And if you have any questions, comments, or ideas please send them my way.

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