Pre-plan Can Plan

Posted on January 20, 2013


Cabbage and radish seedlings

2013 brought about some unsavory circumstances around these here parts. First my monthly student loan debt payment doubled (bye, bye grace period). Then I had the pleasure of dealing with credit card fraud for the first time. And then I found out the house I live in had been sold, without any prior notice to its tenants, and that I would have to move out of my cherished, albeit dilapidated, century-old apartment in the coming months.

Blushed butterhead lettuce

But then something magical happened. After roughly three years of integrating myself into this area’s growing community of local food and farm advocates, I am overwhelmingly excited to announce that I will be joining Wright-Locke Farm next month as their farm education coordinator. That said, my posts here on Little Miss Cruciferous will likely take a back seat to the job / moving juggling act now coming to dominant my winter. Good thing I’m an active girl.

Bitter melon on the vine

My Johnny’s catalog came in the mail the other day and got my brain stuck on plants. Per usual, my growing plans are still far from finalized, though I will definitely continue to tend that tiny GROW garden plot I was allotted last spring in addition to continuing as Learning Garden facilitator at Waltham Fields Community Farm (with the assistance of increased programmatic maintenance).

Lemon cucumbers

While I can’t speak to plans for the LG quite yet (though I will say this: PLOW and FENCE), I’m thinking that I will mostly dedicate my 15 x 15′ sanctuary to perennial flowers and herbs that I cannot typically purchase at my local farmers market as well as a few exotic fruits or vegetables like last year’s bitter melon and Chinese broccoli. This “three brothers” garden, a perennial take on the better-known “three sisters” garden, is high on my to-do list, and I’ve even suggested it for use in the Learning Garden at Waltham Fields. I may not be a farmer, but my hunger to learn about and actively participate in local food cultivation and distribution cannot be satiated if I’m standing on the sidelines. I’d rather have a schedule filled to the brim than the free time to wonder about what I’m missing. Speaking of loaded schedules…

Homemade jams and marmalade

Before the madness of February and March consumes my life, I want to bust out my preliminary preservation plans for this year. I will create a more detailed post with relevant links once I’ve really figured out specific recipes I wish to use; for now, I have laid out the following list of preserves I intend to put up this growing season.

Peeled local Bosc pears


Much like my 2012 Can Plan, I have listed items as chronologically as possible (some items, available in both the spring and fall, I have listed last because I plan to put them up in the fall). For example, I have listed strawberry preserves before blueberry preserves since strawberries are available in June and blueberries in July. For more general information on how to safely put up just about any fruit or vegetable you can think of, check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s website. I’m just starting to consider how I will cook up many of these preserves as I enjoy the ones I put up in 2012.

LAST EDITED: Friday, July 5, 2013

Canning { Boiling-Water Bath } : high-heat water processing of high-acid foods for shelf stability

Canning { Pressurized } : higher-heat steam processing of low-acid foods for shelf stability

  • corn cob stock
  • vegetable stock
  • baked beans

Dehydrating : low-heat processing for minimal nutrient loss and shelf stability

  • Italian plums OR apricots
  • plum tomatoes
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • rose hips (for herbal tea blends)
  • marinated eggplant “jerky” (sans seeds for less bitterness)
  • herbs / flowers (specific types TBD)
  • fruit leather (not sure on which fruits yet!)
  • apples
  • beef or venison jerky (two flavors)
  • cranberries (BIG maybe)

Fermenting : the use of live cultures and lacto-fermentation for nutrients, healthy gut bacteria, and long-term storage

Freezing : blanching* and freezing for nutrient preservation and long-term storage

  • berries (definitely including: strawbs, bluebs, raspbs for smoothies and granola-eating)
  • peaches and/or nectarines, quartered (more fruit for yogurt smoothies!)
  • green beans*
  • corn*
  • pesto cubes
  • kale*
  • broccoli*
  • snap peas or sweet peas*