Today marks a pretty exciting day for me. I get to pass a summertime passion along to one of my best gal pals. With boxes of fruit in hand and four Littles in tow, she'll be headin' my way first thing this morning . We'll be canning peaches which is something I've never canned before but figure it won't be too different from the jams and veggies I've done in previous years.
As I was hauling out all my gadgets and gizmos in preparation for the day, I came across my pretty little Harvest Journal and thought I'd share it with you. If I'm being TOTALLY honest, I bought the journal first and THEN came up with a reason to use it. But, you already know about my secret addiction to the stationary supply aisle at Target, so let's skip the lecture and get right to the journal.
As I've mentioned, I am a bit of a black thumb when it comes to growing things. Fortunately, however, I have many generous gardening friends nearby and a fabulous farmer's market less than a mile away. So, every August through October finds me peeling, snapping, chopping, and pickling...puttin' up food for winter.
I've been an avid freezer preserver since my Newlywed days and started canning with my dear friend about four or five years ago. That first year of canning was a bit of a blur as I really didn't know what I was doing. But by the second year, I entered the summer with a plan...and a cute little journal for keeping track of it. I kind of think of this little book as my own personal farmer's almanac.
Just as the farmers of yester-year, when harvest season rolls around, I whip out my "almanac" and start logging my successes and failures. From year-to-year, I jot down a few notes about everything I have "put up" so that I don't have to waste brain power trying to remember all the details later.
Here's what goes in my harvest journal:
- the date
- what I preserved
- who/where I was given/purchased the fruits or veggies from
- how I preserved them (froze or canned)
- how many fruits/veggies I purchased or was given
- the cost for the fruits/veggies, if any
- the amount and cost of additional ingredients (sugar, salt, pectin, garlic, etc.)
- the yield of finished preserves (12 qt. sized bags, 2 dozen pint jars, etc.)
- the date the preserved food will be ready to eat (Pickled items usually have to "rest" for a few weeks before they are ready to eat.)
- the date that we ate the last of that particular harvest (This helps me decide if I should preserve more or less of that item next year.)
- and any additional information that might be helpful (I see in this photo that I owe my friend 8 jars that I borrowed from her on canning day last year! Don't want to forget that!)
Ever summer, I am so thankful for this cute little book. While I preserve yummy farm-fresh food for my family, IT preserves my sanity! I realize there is probably a helpful app or spread sheet I could use to make this process more efficient, but I'm a pen and paper kinda' girl. And besides, a fancy app won't have the faint smell of last year's pickle brine wafting from its pages rousing me to boil just a few more jars!
Do you preserve a summer harvest? Got any good tips/tricks to share?