We are thankful for an abundant harvest this year from our two gardens. Cathy, Kara, and Melody canned and froze an amazing 1090 quarts of fruits and vegetables this summer and fall. We also have a bunch of squash, pumpkins, potatoes and sweet potatoes in the cellar and in cool storage. I say amazing because I did not expect that much as we were harvesting things from the garden this summer.
We made a decision at the beginning of the year to try to grow as much of our own nutrient dense food as we could for the health of our family. The fruits and vegetables that you can buy in the stores still look as good and nutritious as they did 30 or 40 years ago. But the nutritional analysis by the USDA shows that the calcium and mineral content has significantly declined and it is showing up in the health of people. 50 years ago there were only a few small drug stores. The “pharmacy” section in the grocery store consisted of basic things such as aspirin, cough drops, and bandaids. Now each grocery store has a full service pharmacy to provide drugs to supplement the poor quality food. Plus, there are a lot of other large drug stores conveniently located around town to keep everyone propped up with their medications. And they keep building new drug stores all over town.
In looking at the statistics for individual illnesses and diseases, the percentage of the population that has a particular illness or disease has significantly multiplied in the last 50 years. Plus there are many new diseases that were unheard of 50 years ago. The health care industry has grown to be the #1 industry in America. People are seriously sick! One Walmart we saw in Virginia had 32 handicapped parking spaces and many of them were filled – a testimony to the poor nutritional quality of their food. Cheap food has led to poor results.
There is a solution, and there is hope. Organic is a step in the right direction, but organic does not necessarily mean that the organic farmer has added any more calcium and trace minerals to his soil than what the conventional farmer has. The solution is to either grow as much of your own food as you can, or buy it from a farmer who you know has added the calcium and trace minerals to his soil.
The open pantry shelves in Cathy’s kitchen hold a sampling of each of the canned fruits and vegetables in the cellar. Everything came from our gardens except for the apples and peaches. A few of the jars are from last year.
Top shelf: Peach Jam, Salsa, Grape Jelly, Grape Syrup, Pizza Sauce
Second Shelf: Pumpkin Butter, Raspberry Jam, Bread and Butter Pickles, Apple Butter, Cucumber Relish, Peach Jam, Pickled Banana Pepper Slices, Pepper Relish, Zucchini Relish, Ketchup
Third shelf: Tomato Juice, Apple Pie Filling, Peaches, Stewed Tomatoes, Dilly Bean Pickles, Pumpkin, Dill Pickles, Pizza Sauce.
Forth Shelf: V8 Juice, Pickled Beets, White Grape Juice, Green Beans, Zucchini, Purple Grape Juice, Pickled Okra, Apple Sauce
Not pictured: Chicken Broth, Chili Peppers, Chunked Tomatoes.
Contrary to popular advice, it is possible to reuse regular canning jar lids if you are careful not to bend the lids when you remove them. We have had a very low failure rate in reusing lids.
Pantry Paratus Radio, Episode 019: Interview at Jehovah Jireh Farm
From homesteading to professional farming
Myron and our son Joel were interviewed for a podcast on Pantry Paratus Radio. It is a good overview of our farming philosophy, teaching children how to work, homesteading, how to produce food in the middle of winter if you don’t have any stored up, principles of growing healthy plants, etc. It runs almost an hour in length and might be something to listen to on your commute to work.