This beautiful spring day has reminded me that it is time to make a garden plan. This year we are going to put in a couple of raised beds and I am terribly excited to get started. Before I flop on the couch with seed catalogs, the canning notebook must be consulted.
I began keeping a notebook two years ago and it has made my life so much easier.
A list of jars filled is kept my month. For instance I see that in September I put up 6 pints of Wasabi Green Beans and 11 quarts of peaches. I made a note that I used just shy of two cases for that amount of peaches. An amount that turned out to be just right for the family and can easily be repeated this year.
If, during the course of the year we run out of something, a note is made to increase amounts next year. If a specific recipe was used, I add that to the information as I will not remember from year to year. Looking over what was put up last year, I have made a plan for this year.
This is just a rough draft. I will certainly run across new things to try as well as miss a thing or two when it is in season. The other part of this list is a jar count. How much do I plan to make of each thing and how many jars will that require. It is always surprising to me that I need to buy jars. My jar stash is impressive, but every year I put up more and more. Every year there is something we no longer buy from the store because we make our own. It is a great feeling and one day, probably in the next couple of years, I will have enough jars.
There is no way I can grow everything on this list. I live in a city, with a small yard, and only have so many hours in a day to tend a garden. But whatever I am able to grow, I will. We are lucky to live a few blocks away from the local co-op and there will be plenty of local produce to chose from.
My notebook is meant for me and is not very neat. Just recently it occurred to me that one of my children, or one of their children, may find this book interesting. After all, I treasure my Grandma's canning recipes, written in her own hand. So as I begin this year's canning adventure my goal is to write more clearly, be more concise, and instead of referencing a recipe by the title of a book, actually write the recipe down. I hope one day someone will appreciate the effort and do the same for their children.