Each year I can a few more vegetables, make more jellies, and preserve more from my garden. There’s nothing quite as tasty during the cold months of winter as homemade jelly, salsa, or green beans from the garden. But before the first seed gets planted in the garden, I need to take an inventory of what is left in the pantry so we can use it up before the new harvest is ready. Here are some tips to help us get organized before the first planting of the season.
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Canning Tasks to do in March
It may be just a bit too early to actually start planting seeds in the garden, but I’m already planning for the harvest. By doing a few chores in the spring, I will be prepared for the busy days of harvest that will be here sooner than I realize.
Do a Pantry Inventory
Is there anything left in the pantry that we need to eat in the next few months? Do we need to eat more tomato-based meals or have biscuits and jelly for breakfast? Do we need to make more apple pie for desserts? Do I have too many sweet pickles and not enough dill?
- Are there pickles that your family did not like? Can you share them with a friend or family member or do they need to be discarded?
- Are any of the jars showing discoloration or have broken seals?
- Is there anything stuck in the back of the pantry that is over a year old? Although some sites say that it is safe to eat food that has been canned after a year, do you feel comfortable with this? Sometimes its better to discard old food rather than take a chance on something tasting bad or being spoiled.
Pro tip: Make sure you label the jar and include the year so you will be able to easily use your inventory before next season.
Count your jars & lids
Now is a great time to count your jars and lids. Take an inventory and make sure you have plenty for another full season of canning. Since most of us store unused jars in the garage or basement, now is a great time to check the jars for cracks.
Remember that you should not reuse lids so make sure you have plenty before the harvest is ready.
Purchase Canning Supplies
When the harvest starts to come in, all of your neighbors and friends will be going to the stores to buy canning supplies. Get prepared now so you won’t be looking for supplies in July/August.
- Water Bath Canner
- Canning Jars | Lids | Rings
- Pressure Canner
- Pickling Lime | Salt
- Pickling Spices
Now is the time to start eating through your remaining jars of canned vegetables. Make some homemade biscuits and enjoy some jelly! Summer harvest will be here soon and it will be time to start all over!