Rosey the Riveter

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Great Can Plan of 2013

I have a bunch of kiwi in the fridge, freshly picked from a local orchard in Knotts Island.  That can mean only one thing... my 'break' from canning is over.  I've done a few things here and there since the last of the apple butter and mincemeat in October... mostly chicken as I've found the antibiotic-free stuff on clearance (and no freezer space to store it), but I gave a TON of canned goodness away as Christmas gifts, so my shelves are not as full as they used to be.

However, kiwi jam is the family favorite, so it's time to get going again.  And one of the things that I wanted to get done before starting up is my 2013 Can Plan.  I first made a plan last year, which I knew would be my largest canning endeavor ever (thanks to an amazing location with lots of local fruits and veggies).  It really helped me focus, and helped me to not be overwhelmed, when I was drowning in strawberries and cukes and everything else.

Basically, a Can Plan is a road map... for jams and jellies and pickles, I make a list of recipes I want to make in the upcoming season, organized by fruit/veggie.  When I have free time, I will photocopy those recipes and organize them in sheet protectors in a large 3-ring notebook.  I will sort them by season.  (For example, kiwis first, then strawberries, then peaches, etc. according to the order they ripen here in Hampton Roads).  For corn and greenbeans and other veggies that get canned straight-up, I will simply list how many pints/quarts I need to put up of each, and I will also estimate how many pounds of produce it will take to do so.  Last year, I kept a running list of the recipes I'd made and how many jars they made.  I also attempted to list how much produce I bought.  This will help in my 2013 estimations.  (For example, since we're about out of dehydrated peaches, I know that I need to buy more than I did last year.  Since we still have plenty of salsa, I probably won't need to make as much as I did in 2012.)

 This is a photo of the running list I kept.  It was taped to the inside of my cabinet door, so every time I canned something, I listed how much of it resulted.

This is a page out of my 2012 Canning Binder.  As you can see, I made notes about how many quarts it actually made, and also that it tasted amazing...  very helpful when determining which recipes to keep for 2013 and which to forgo.
And this is what the beginning of the new Can Plan looks like.  First, I looked through all my books for Kiwi recipes... then I went through and looked for cranberry recipes (since I have a ton in the fridge right now!).  I will do the same thing for all of the fruits I can get locally... so that when they are in season, I know exactly what recipes to make and also exactly what ingredients I'll need to have on hand to make them!  It also helps to make sure you have enough jars!  Of course, not pictured, is my Canning Board from Pinterest which also holds valuable information!  I'll print out those recipes I want to try and include them in my binder.
If you click on this photo, you can see my notes so far.  Like I said earlier, I'll photocopy each of these recipes and put them in my binder, and I will be all set for the great produce deluge of 2013.  It does take time, but it's so worth it in the end!

1 comment:

  1. Nice! Great ideas. I've never done a "plan". Last year we ate most of what we grew. This year I will keep notes on what I can, how much yield, family taste reviews etc. Then next year, I will be better able to create a plan. Im sucha fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl though!!