One would think in the middle of harvest season, I would be less concerned with what is on my shelf and instead focused on what it in the garden, but if there is one thing I have learned over the years it is to keep track of where we are at, and where I want to be for the year for our pantry.

Despite it being the first year for a new garden in a new house, I am excited to see the bumper crop of lovely veggies growing and exploding out of their boundaries. I am very aware that many of my friends have been inundated with rain or drought, and are watching their gardens withering away. It is something when I walk out there I am super thankful for the pumpkin that is taking over the world, or having to stake up the tomatoes AGAIN because some of the fruits are almost as large as my outstretched palm.

After a year of having pulled again and again from our food storage, however, I am carefully counting jars, figuring out what we need to put up for a winter and planning ahead considering we have another mouth in the house to feed through an uncertain winter.

This was not meant to be a doom and gloom post, because seriously, how can you focus on doom and gloom when the sun is shining so brightly and you can almost hear the grass growing as you sit outside in the lazy midsummer heat. But at the same time I have, earlier than ever, that same disquietedness inside me that urges me to check my food storage list….twice…and start getting the things that are needed in and on the shelves.

For those of you who are interested in canning recipes, there are many canning and dehydrating recipes on the blog, and all you need to do is use the search function. We are working on a beautiful restructuring of the blog that will be available in early September, that we believe will make it SO much easier to find things. 😀

With all the upheaval in our country, and in our world, even sometimes when it seems like things are going well, we need to consider that when we are preparing for a long winter of food for our families, that we need to remember how quickly disaster can take power, water, and necessities away from us. 😀

We always have a large selection of fruits and veggies on hand, as well as basic meats that have been cooked and pressure canned. Those provide a nice base for many meals, as well as quick ones. 😀 On top of that though, we have many one dish jars on the shelf of soups, stews, and bases because being able to dump them in a crockpot and walk away during a busy school or business day is huge.

But more than that, planning for about 30% more than we normally use helps me to plan ahead for unexpected company, helping others out, or just plain getting our grocery budget through the planting season until things are harvestable and can be used for the next season. While canning is a huge bonus for quick meals, I have found that coupling it with dehydrating many items helps round out the winter harvest to give us many options.

This is how many generations of people planned for the cold storage months until spring came again and they could eat what was in the garden or harvest from the wild. It is a good way we should all strive to participate in. You never know when you are going to need it, just like our family did this last winter with a job loss and being apart in two different states.

I pray the very best for your families and your gardens. If your gardens are doing poorly this year and you are looking for ideas on how to purchase things for putting up, comment, and I will share some of the ways we do that around here.

Blessings to you and yours,

~Heather <3