In December, I did a post on our home-canned inventory that included my best guess as to what our original inventory was since I didn’t track specifics as I canned last season.  Since it’s been over 3 months, I thought it was time for an update.

amount canned Dec 14 Mar 27 unit item
22 18 7 quarts pear sauce
6 0 0 quarts chopped pears
18 13 11 quarts applesauce
2 0 0 quarts chopped apples
8 7 2 pints peach jam
5 5 3 1/2 pints peach honey
28 25 8 quarts peaches
6 3 1 1/2 pints strawberry jam
9 7 6 1/2 pints strawberry vanilla
4 4 4 1/2 pints strawberry lemon butter
6 5 3 pints apple-plum sauce
9 8.5 6 gallons tomato sauce (packaged in quarts and pints)
3 2 1 pints blueberry jam


For the most part, I think we are doing a good job of using up items.  I know for sure that the canned quarts of fruit and sauces will be gone soon.  I knew when I canned them that we would never have enough.  I’m glad that everyone in the house likes it.

For the jams, I did have to trash 2 pints of peach.  A couple of the jars weren’t sealed properly during one of my cupboard checks.  I’m not sure why we haven’t tried the strawberry lemon butter.  I think that will be the next jar that gets opened.  Our jam usage is directly correlated to our stock of yogurt.  As long as we are stocked on yogurt, we use quite a bit of jam.  Occasionally, we don’t have yogurt for several days and then use less jam.  I’m guessing that we’ll use most of it up before the next season starts, especially since peanut butter and jelly season is upon us.  It’s an easy item to pack for picnics.  Nick and Sally really enjoy eating lunch outside when the weather is nice.

It seems like I have extra of the tomato sauce, but it was also the last item canned.  Tomatoes for canning won’t be available until August, so there is plenty of time to use them.  I have extra tofu in the fridge right now, so I’ll be using some in lasagna this week.

It’s been fun to watch the empty jars stack up as we enjoy our bounty from last season.  I can’t wait to start over again for this season.


Back in the middle of November, I did a post on our freezer inventory.  Last week I got to thinking about our pantry.  I did a good job of freezing some of our favorite fruits like peaches and blueberries, but I also spent a considerable amount of time canning this summer.  It dawned on me that I don’t have a good list of what we made and that will make it hard to decide what to make for next season.

So, I’ve done my best to summarize each item that I canned this summer and its current inventory in our pantry.  Our house has a canned cupboard and it’s actually being used for its intended purpose.  It’s also fun to look at this list because we picked most of the items personally at local farms.  The exceptions being tomatoes and pears.

item amount canned in inventory 12/14 unit
pear sauce 22 18 quarts
chopped pears 6 0 quarts
applesauce 18 13 quarts
chopped apples 2 0 quarts
peach jam 8 7 pints
peach honey 5 5 1/2 pints
sliced peaches 28 25 quarts
strawberry jam 6 3 1/2 pints
strawberry- vanilla jam 9 7 1/2 pints
strawberry -lemon butter 4 4 1/2 pints
apple-plum sauce 6 5 pints
tomato sauce 9 8.5 gallons
blueberry jam 3 2 pints

I think it will be good to revisit this list every once in a while to make sure we don’t forget what we have and to get an idea of how much we really use during a given year. I already know that we need many more quarts of chopped pears next season!


Last week when we were apple picking at Eddy’s Fruit Farm, I ordered 2 bushels of pears.  This equates to about 96 pounds of pears or two large boxes.  They were kind enough to store them for me until we returned from our Maryland/Delaware trip.

This week, I spent many hours processing pears.  The result was 19 quarts of sauce and 5 quarts of chunks to store in our can cupboard.  In addition, we have 2 quarts of sauce in the fridge, have consumed a quart of sauce and a quart of chunks and have eaten 2 dozen pears.  I also have about 6 quarts of pear juice that I plan to make into jelly.  I froze it for a rainy day project.


Here’s a closer look.


This was my first year processing pears.  I definitely learned a lot.  Two bushels of canning pears is a huge amount of pears.  Canning pears could also be called seconds.  There’s nothing wrong with the pears.  I thought these were really nice pears.  They are however more varied in size and have odd dimples and blemishes that you probably wouldn’t normally see.

I really like canned pears.  I set out to make as much chunks as possible.  We only ended up with 5 quarts of them.  There are several reasons for this.  Chunks take much more time for processing than sauce.  The pears need to be ripe, but not too ripe to make chunks.  I was not expecting to have to wait several days for the pears to be ripe enough to can. I’m a lazy canner.

Stephen helped me sort/test pears for ripeness every day.  Every day but Thursday, I canned at least one load.  I loosely pealed the pear with a paring knife, used a round measuring spoon to core them, and chopped the chunks.  The chunks went into lemon water and the rest went into a crock pot.  The skins, core, and other parts of the pears were cooked until soft and then were put through the food mill to become sauce.  The  chunks were canned in a light honey syrup.  This method worked well since there is minimal waste.

Many pears went from not ripe enough to too ripe for chunks, most of the pears were made into sauce.

Nick and Sally LOVE the sauce.  It will be a hit this winter and spring.  I’d probably do two bushels again, but I would only buy one bushel at a time.  For 3 days this week, we ate in the dining room and the kids had picnic breakfast.


Last week, we went to Eddy Fruit Farm to pick grapes, apples and plums.  The grapes were seedless, sweet reliance grapes.  Turns out that they are seedless, but they don’t have a good texture for snacking.  Stephen, the kids, and I didn’t care for them.  I decided that I would make jelly.  I had ordered jelly bags on line.  I ordered way too many.  They were only $1.49 per pack, but I bought 5 packs.  It turns out they are reusable.  I had no idea.


I started out cooking the grapes with a little water on the stove.  I cooked them until they were really soft and then I ran them through my manual food mill.  The grapes are not recommended for the Kitchen Aid mixer food mill.  Since I only had 2 pounds of grapes, it wasn’t going to make a difference.

After I ran them through the mill, I poured them in a jelly bag that conveniently fit over a pitcher.  Sorry, I didn’t think to take actual grape photos.


After it strained, I tried the juice.  It was so good that I never went to the next steps for jelly and just drink the juice.  Grapes were 90 cents a pound.  It took 2 pounds of grapes to make a nice size glass of juice.  I don’t think I would make it often, but it would be good once a season.

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The dishes!  We have 4 people living in our house.  We don’t have a dishwasher and we don’t have a good place to add one.  When you are preserving – using canners, strainers, food mills, crock pots etc., you dirty lots of dishes.  I actually don’t hate the dishes that much, but I really hate the drying!  I usually spread them out as much as possible so they can dry naturally while I do other things.  After I overflowed our drying rack, I spread out a bath sized towel on our kitchen table for the rest.  I was sure glad when everything was dry and put away.  I won’t be doing dishes this week in Hawaii and I’m happy about it!

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On Labor Day, my friend Sherry shared her kitchen and canning talents by helping me can 100 pounds worth of tomatoes into sauce.  I had purchased the tomatoes from Ridgeview Farm. I had 40 pounds of tomatoes already juiced when I arrived at 8AM and quickly got to work on juicing the other 60 pounds.


Soon enough, we had sauce simmering on the stove and in the oven.


When we ran out of room inside, we added the turkey fryer outside.  This huge pot on a burner worked great!


After a few hours of work, it was time to fill the jars and use the pressure canner.  I really enjoyed learning how to use the pressure canner since I usually do water bath canning.


By 5PM, we had canned almost 9 gallons worth of tomato sauce.  Some of it is seasoned with herbs and some is plain.  I plan to use some for ketchup and BBQ sauce throughout the year, in addition to pasta sauce.


My pantry is fairly stocked with tomato sauce now.  Next year, I plan to branch out to canning diced tomatoes in addition to sauce.

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