We forgot to mention one of the most important lessons we’ve learned about food preservation over the years! And that is to “right size” the packaging (size, amount, weight, etc) of what you preserve for the appropriate situation.
We remember when we first started canning. A quart of this, a quart of that. It seemed logical at the time to just do what the “pro’s” did, right? It worked for them, therefore it should work for me!
Well, it didn’t take too long to realize we had a big disconnect there. We’d often experience spoilage as it can be difficult to use up a fair bit of food when there’s only two, three or four people eating it. The reality is that what works for a family of eight is very different than what works for a family of two! Often, when you’re reviewing any preservation information, you have no context of the family or use that might be connected to that preservation.
Whether you’re canning, freezing or preparing any food for preservation it’s important to think in the “how much will I use at a time” context. We often portion out specific amounts (e.g. 1 cup) to freeze or maybe do a much smaller canning job (e.g. pints or even half pints instead of quarts) to “right size” the amount of preservation for our particular use. This minimizes waste and ensures our excess is maintained in a preserved state.
One of the fundamental keys we’ve learned to maximizing our harvest, particularly as “not a family of eight” people, has been to appropriately portion our preservation. We try to aim for amounts that we’d commonly use in recipes and no more. If we need more for something we’re doing, just grab more bags/jars/etc of that thing. You can also vary things up a bit, especially when freezing food, like maybe have some 1/2 cup portions, 1 cup portions and 2 cup portions to suit the particular situation.
It’s fine to grow a lot of something, but this is one of the disciplines that we had to develop to use it more effectively! Food waste is an inevitable reality for most people, but this is a way you can help reduce it as much as possible!