Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Jars, Jars, Jars!

Canning jars are an essential for the homestead. Ours is no exception. A YouTube subscriber of ours lives in North Carolina near an Amish community with a cannery. They sell for pennies on the dollar or giveaway their used jars. Yes, they have some leftover jams and jellies in them, but otherwise, they are perfect. She's collected 40 cases of pint and a half jars for us this year and it's time to get them. SIXTY cases (12 jars to a case) may sound extreme, but how many cans or frozen bags of vegetables do you go through in a year?

I'm not above borrowing, bartering, or even using second hand stuff. It's all part of being frugal financially. This goes along with the self reliant life style we are trying to achieve. With a garden, there are overages in harvest, either planned or just happens in a fruitful year. I don't know about you. but I just don't have enough freezer space to process all my planned harvest because we are shooting for six months to a year's worth. It also costs money to store produce in the freezer. The option are limited to store and preserve a harvest: dehydrate, can, freeze, or a root cellar.

Some fresh produce does well in a root cellar. Mainly root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and turnips. Hard squashes, garlic, and onions last only a few months. My grandmother kept apples in a barrel after wrapping each one in newspaper. These would have to be checked and rewrapped each week to check for spoilage. You ever hear this old saying, "One bad apples spoils the whole barrel or bunch?" That's where this comes from. The same concerns the rest of the harvest stored in a root cellar. Vigilance is the key to successful root cellar keepers.

Some produce does beautifully dehydrated, but not all do. I dehydrate all my herbs and root type seasonings. I love to dehydrate mushrooms! Four pounds of dehydrated mushrooms easily fits into a pint jar. Talk about space savings! Don't you just love dehydrated watermelon? A ten-pound watermelon dehydrates into a super sweet treat almost like candy because without the water all the sugar is condensed in a smaller area. Cantaloupe or strawberry roll ups. Raisins. Apple and banana chips. Venison, beef, and rabbit jerky. I could go on and on.

The last option is canning. Once you purchase the jars and you have a garden, the expense is minimal year after year. The cost of lids can vary. I usually buy the sleeves of 349 lids for about $50. I also will reuse lids. Technically, you are not suppose to, but I do. The rings are reusable until they get too rusted or bent. Since you remove the rings after you seal your jars, the same rings can be used multiple times during a season. The rest of the time, they hang on an opened metal clothes hanger in my pantry. Wide rings on one and regular rings on the other. You  will quickly end up with a glut of rings if you buy all new jars. They'll be everywhere and seem to multiply.

You can also smoke and salt meats for longer term storage. I prefer canning my meats.

So I'm on a pickup run to North Carolina. When you figure out just how much canned food you go through on a year and how many jars you'll need, the monies saved on a trip like this sure beats the cost of new jars $36 in gas versus $480 in new jars. Plus, I picked up 30 4-gallon food grade buckets with lids for free. They'll come in handy for storing the rest of what I purchased. In going into the actual store, I purchased 100 lbs of each, oats, sugar, barley, dried corn, and wheat. All non GMO and no chemicals. For other canning and tanning items, I bought Clear-Gel, citric acid, alum, and salt in bulk quantities and cheaper than Amazon would have sold it. I might have spent almost all my savings on the jars in other products, but I won't need to buy them again in at least a year or more. Now that's still saving money and being self reliant!

Y'all have a blessed day!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. That is the proper way of living a self sufficient, frugal lifestyle! ~ Blessings


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