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Actias Luna
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't done any true canning, ever. I have been stocking up on equipment all summer at yard sales. I have: a pressure canner, water bath canner, basic utensils, books and 100 unused jars with another several hundred lids. I have no clue how many jars it will use up to can one doe. I'm hoping to can at least 3 of them. We have frozen from 3 to 9 at a time but I want to store them for a power outage.

How many jars do you keep on hand? The 8 unopened cases I have take up a lot of room in my pantry. If I need several hundred I'm going to have to come up with somewhere else to store them.

I want to can produce but this year we ate everything I grew. I have 18 fruit trees now and I just want some idea of what others have on hand so I can pick jars up on the cheap before I need them.
 

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Well... where do you live? Do you live in a climate that supports all year growing? Or do you live in a area that only supports 1/2 yr growing.

How many people are you hoping to support? 1? 2? Family size?

This figure could easily be thousands.... depending on your answers.

EDIT: IF you figure only 1 jar per person per day... that alone is 365 jars!!! However the answer gets more technical, than that.
 

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If you can't store them empty, you can't store them full. Designate a place, or places and keep going. Have five lids per jar that you have at a minimum. 10 is better.
 

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Guns and Yoga
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You should start canning asap, or at least write out your foodstuffs volume you expect for the year (hunting, gardening, etc.) and divide that into whatever units (pts, qts, etc) you will be using. I would at least double that to account for chipping, breakage over the years (you did check for chips on the used jars, right??). Also look at how many jars of food you use now and in a SHTF situation (x amount people times x meals). Also look at how much room you have to dedicate to storing empty jars (though get could be filled with other items until used). This would just be a start but it would get you familiar with quantities.
 

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workin on it......
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All good answers.
You have to take into consideration how you eat now and how you expect to eat wshtf.
Are you:
only going to use maybe 1 quart of fruit a day?
how much meat?
how many veggies?
do you eat a good deal of soups and stews?

Will you go to only eating twice a day if shtf? and then maybe just a snack or hot drink later in the day or at bedtime?

As for storage, I gave up the area where we hung our coats and hats and hubby built me a big pantry. I also had him put 3 rows of shelves along the walls in the back hallway. That way everything stays house temps and clean and dry and in darker light.

We're working on a root cellar so things would be kept cooler, but until then that all I have to work with.
 

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I haven't done any true canning, ever. I have been stocking up on equipment all summer at yard sales. I have: a pressure canner, water bath canner, basic utensils, books and 100 unused jars with another several hundred lids. I have no clue how many jars it will use up to can one doe. I'm hoping to can at least 3 of them. We have frozen from 3 to 9 at a time but I want to store them for a power outage.

How many jars do you keep on hand? The 8 unopened cases I have take up a lot of room in my pantry. If I need several hundred I'm going to have to come up with somewhere else to store them.

I want to can produce but this year we ate everything I grew. I have 18 fruit trees now and I just want some idea of what others have on hand so I can pick jars up on the cheap before I need them.
Well, first off, what size jars are they? They come in quart and pint, plus some smaller ones.

I had one grocery bag full of unshelled butterbeans. Once shelled and processed, they produced 7.5 quarts. The .5 part we ate, so that is 7 quart jars used.

I had apples this year and only canned about a third of them. I made applesauce, apple butter and apple jelly. I ended up with 15 pints of applesauce, 13 pints of applebutter and 14 pints of apple jelly, so that is 42 pint jars used.

If you have mixed size jars, just the apples and butterbeans would have used up half of them! Hope this helps!

PS> You can never have enough lids ....

PSS> I have an attic ... I put the cheap, 3-4 foot, assemble yourself, metal steel racks that you can get from Kmart or Wal-Mart up there. I store my empty jars on those racks in the attic, and then I have a small area down on the ground floor where I keep about 50 of all sizes. As I use them, I go upstairs, bring more down, wash them out and restock my downstairs supply, so that helps to keep some of them out of the way. One note here ... the lids don't do very well in the kind of heat you will get in an attic, so don't store those up there.

My friend, Holli, dehydrates a lot of her vegetables. She told me that she can get about 23 ears of dehydrated corn (cut off the cob) in one quart jar, so that might be something you think about. I processed 4 big heads of celery that way, and though it filled the 8 dehydrator trays when it was wet, it only half filled a quart jar after it was processed. If you are interested, check out the Excalibur Dehydrator ... the little ones just don't cut it. The Excalibur has a heat setting, so you can gauge what you are doing and your times correctly.
 

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At the moment, my primary canning goal is meats. We only have the tiny freezer that's with the 'fridge...no room for an upright or chest freezer.

Knowing the "capacity" of your jars help determine quantity. For me, a quart jar holds a bit over a pound - seems to hold true regardless of what meat I'm canning. So, if I use 3 quarts per week...I need 156 jars for a year.

Hope this helps you out...
 

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If you only used one canning jar a day, that would be 365 jars, or about 30 cases. Just so you have some perspective of what you are dealing with here.
One jar a day...a jar of sauce, a jar of pickles, a jar of jam, a jar of veggie might be more like what one would use, so multiply that by 4!!
I do a mix of things, I dehydrate a lot of stuff, particularly veggies and fruit, which cuts down the number of jars I use.
This year alone, I canned 24 jars of apple pie filling and 24 jars of apple sauce. For tomatoes, I canned about 3 dozen jars of whole tomatoes and another 12 of diced and another 6 of sauce. I did 24 of pickles and didn't get to make some of my usual ones. I haven't even started to make my jam yet!
 

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Seriously.... I think anybody's best bet is to go with DEHYDRATION..... it saves SOOOO MUCH SPACE..... then Vacuum Pack the Dehydrated Goods!!!! (into Canning Jars)

I would use the Canning Jar Process for casserole/soup type stuff... Sort of like.... Meal in a Jar.... kind of thingy's.
 

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Actias Luna
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow, that's a lot of info to process! I have a mix of jars, mostly wide mouth quarts but also some jelly jars, pints and a lot of big antique jars.

My husband is getting his hunting license tomorrow and I hope he gets a doe or two Saturday so we can process on Sunday or Monday. I can use my MIL's canner and run two at a time to process the meat.

I made freezer jam this summer for practice but I just got my water bath canner 3 days ago.

I'm going to have to triple the amount of jars I have on hand. I have a wonderful pantry because I live in an old farm house, it has lots of shelves but I've been using them for non food-related items. I also have a large attic I can put the jars in until I need them.
 

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On the "other" threads about STOCKPILING Store Bought Stuff... I've said this SOOOOOO MANY TIMES.....

When you have Store Bought Stuff with ACTUAL Expiration Dates... you should Organize your Shelves according to EXPIRATION YEARS!!!

For Example.... Expires 2010....Expires 2011....Expires 2012, etc...

This would also offer the best ROTATION of Homemade Processed goods.

Just sayin....
 

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Seriously.... I think anybody's best bet is to go with DEHYDRATION..... it saves SOOOO MUCH SPACE..... then Vacuum Pack the Dehydrated Goods!!!! (into Canning Jars)

I would use the Canning Jar Process for casserole/soup type stuff... Sort of like.... Meal in a Jar.... kind of thingy's.
That is very true providing you don't have a water storage problem, but have access to lots of water for cooking.
 

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Sounds like you are doing good, Sara.

You could make some jerky and dehydrated fruits to save space in your canning jars. Like graywolf says, though, the water in your canned foods is also important if you will have no ready access to water in SHTF.

You didn't say how big your family was, but that makes a difference in size of jars too. For one person (and a dog who would love canned meat), I use pint jars mainly, 1/2 pint jars for jams, quart jars for juices. Quart jars are good for ready-made stews too. You could also use 1/2 gallon jars for storing water and juices. If you will have no electricity, you may have a problem keeping foods fresh in opened jars, so you may not want many leftovers then, at least in the summer. Just get the sizes you can use for one meal.

I also use canning jars for storage of dry foods. You could use mayonnaise jars for storage with a canning jar lid. Right now, I have 1/2 pint jars with sugar stored in them because I would use those jars for jam, which usually requires sugar. So, I'm not storing empty jars. When it comes time that I need more canning jars and I can no longer buy them, I'll just pour the dried foods into another container.

Until you have experience with canning, it is difficult to figure how many jars you will need. It also matters if you make whole meals or not to can. I would just try canning a deer before SHTF if you can do it and buying more jars as you need them. One poster above said a quart equals about 1 pound of meat, so that is a good indication. Then can some fruits and vegetables too. You really can't get too many jars (and lids), unless you truly don't have room for them. If nothing else, they would be a great barter item in SHTF. I would just store empty jars where temperature doesn't matter until you find a use for them. When SHTF, you WILL find a place for filled jars, somehow!

Canning lids you should just keep buying as you have the money for them. I get another dozen at least each time I go grocery shopping. You can also get reusable canning lids:
http://shop.reusablecanninglids.com/main.sc
These have high reviews from nearly everywhere and each can be reused 20 times or probably more. I have three dozen reuseable lids that I will start using after the regular ones have run out, and eventually I'll get more of those.

Good luck, and tell us how the canning goes! The first few times you can something seems harder and takes more time than later, but there's nothing more satisfying than to see all those home canned jars of food on the shelves!
 

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Actias Luna
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Our family is two adults, two young 'uns.

I use canned to make stews and when I can't get to a store in the winter but we mostly eat fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables now. I want to can my own produce to get away from pesticides. Our diet/palate will have to change but I'm O.K. with that because it will be healthier for us.
 

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If you were to harvest each type of food [crops, butchering livestock, etc] once a year, every year; then, .. For a meat and a vegetable, for one meal each day, will require [365 X 2 =] 730 jars.

For two meals each day you would require twice that amount: 1460 jars.

We have things that harvest in the early spring. So those jars are due to cycle empty in the early spring, to be ready to re-fill.

We have other crops that harvest at different times. And we do most of our butchering in early winter.

But come mid-winter most of our jars are filled and in use.

Now just so I am not misunderstood here. The math I did was to assume that canning is your only sole source of preservation. Canning is not our sole method, so we in fact do not have 1460 jars. :)

But we do have a lot of jars. And when each thing comes to harvest we fill every empty jar in the house. :)
 

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I just bought some canning equipment last winter. Didn't get a chance to garden this summer... and NOW I'm packing up the house getting ready for a Major Big Move. Ho Hum!!!

But anyhow... there are Wide Mouth Jars that are FREEZER FRIENDLY!!! Those are the jars I've been collecting the last few years. They are safe for the Canner AND the Freezer.

What I like to do.... come Autumn when the temps start to drop. I'm not real keen on wanting to start up the furnace to take the cold "nip" off the house. (that costs money)

Soooo..... come Autumn I like to cook up HUGE HUGE batches of Soups, Stews, Casserole type stuff.... stuff them into the FREEZER FRIENDLY Wide Mouth Jars and put them in my little Chest Freezer. You can purchase plastic screw on lids just for this purpose.

I will spend one weekend making Chilli.... and have enough Chili to get me thru the winter. Same with Goulash, or whatever. All that cooking heats up the house, so I don't have to turn on the Furnace.

Sure does come in handy, come Jan/Feb/March... when I might be sick with a Cold/Sinus/Flu... and sure ain't in NO MOOD for cooking!!!! Also comes in handy when your job has you working OverTime, etc.
 

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Looks like rain to me.
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On the "other" threads about STOCKPILING Store Bought Stuff... I've said this SOOOOOO MANY TIMES.....

When you have Store Bought Stuff with ACTUAL Expiration Dates... you should Organize your Shelves according to EXPIRATION YEARS!!!

For Example.... Expires 2010....Expires 2011....Expires 2012, etc...

This would also offer the best ROTATION of Homemade Processed goods.

Just sayin....
What an awesome idea. Store by year means nothing slips through the cracks.

Back to the OP. I'm thinking jars are like bullets, is there such thing as enough? My plan is prepping for 10 people, it's an even number and a bit of over kill. My plan calls for around 1100 jars. That's if I had a one year pantry.

As far as lids go, the rubber compound at the seal is "safe" for 2 years. Keeping them in a stable environment will lengthen that, but be carefull.

Keep your eyes open at yard sales, thrift stores and family members who have them around and not using them.

Everytime I go to Winco I get a case. Can't have too many.
 

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If you can't store them empty, you can't store them full. Designate a place, or places and keep going. Have five lids per jar that you have at a minimum. 10 is better.
That's exactly how I do it too. Get as many as you can possibly store. You may not use them all now, but you have them on hand just in case. And stock lids like there's no tomorrow, or look into the reusable lids. You can also reuse standard lids a couple times by boiling them in baking soda water. You'll have to google for the information on that, as I don't have it on hand. But there's a lot of discussion on how to do it.
 

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I can tomatoes, speghetti sauce, salsa, pickles, applesauce, beets, corn, some beans,vegetable mix for soup and jellys and jams, meats and pickled eggs. The rest I dehydrate and use my vaccuum sealer to seal them in jars. I do freeze beans (that's the way the family likes them) If the electricity goes out it would go in the solar dehydrator.
My husband made lots of shelves in the guest room 4 qts deep 3 sets of big folding closet doors wide.
 
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