Preservation options once the freezer is full
I knew when we bought our quarter of a cow
that we might run out of freezer space as a result, and the inevitable
has finally happened. Pastured beef, homegrown chicken, some
strawberry jam and leather, plus 22 gallons of various vegetables
equates to a freezer nearly full to the brim. What's next?
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If it were September
instead of August, I'd say, "Time to rest on my laurels and prepare for
winter!" But the garden is still overflowing, and we should have
at least a bushel apiece left of beans, corn, and tomatoes coming in
over the next few weeks. In a pinch, I can give some away, but we
always wish we had more summer bounty come spring, so I'd prefer to
preserve at least a few more gallons of warm-weather food.
The obvious solutions to
round out our preservation campaign are canning and drying. If I
limit myself to plain tomatoes, canning is easiest since I can use the
hot-water-bath method, but I'm tempted to brush off the pressure canner
we bought years ago as a backup to the freezer and try my hand at
canning soup. Alternatively, I could dry tomatoes,
which is a bit more nitpicky but is cooler since the heat source is
outside rather than right in our living area. And, if I were
brave, maybe I'd even try my hand at drying corn and beans?
What do you do when you run out of room in the freezer and still have food in the garden? (Don't say "Buy a pig!")