Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

Pantry Building for the Holidays November 24, 2011

I had an idea just prior to making the holiday dinner preparations.  Instead of just making what we would need for the meal, why not start early and cook double or triple the amount?  It isn’t as silly as it may seem.

I make fresh whole cranberry sauce each year.  I buy the cranberries at a good price so that I can buy extra.  This year, I made the sauce and then canned it up in jars for the pantry.  I have enough for the holiday meals with a bit extra for later.

Sweet potatoes were on sale a month ago.  I purchased 9 pounds of them.  They were peeled, diced, then processed in canning jars.  I ended up with a dozen jars.

An extra turkey was roasted, then deboned.  I removed any skin and placed the meat into canning jars with broth mixed with a bit of water.  Once processed, this gave me jars of cooked turkey to use in recipes this winter.

I home can many of the foods in pint or half-pint jars so that my husband can take them in his truck.  This makes healthier meals than eating truck stop food every day.  It is also much easier on the monthly budget.  Knowing he wouldn’t be home for Thanksgiving, I had an early holiday meal last time he was home.  When he went back on the road, he had all of the fixings for the holiday meal in canning jars to take with him.  In his lunch box cooker, which plugs into a 12 volt outlet in the truck, he is able to fully cook any of the meals.  I sent along some stuffing mix to add to the turkey & broth so that he will have turkey & dressing.  Half pint jars of turkey gravy, some sweet potatoes, and home canned pumpkin round out his meal.  Needless to say, he thinks he is spoiled.  I love spoiling him.  It is my small way to be able to still provide meals for him, even when away from home.

Now that I have seen for myself just how stress-free the canning made my holiday meal preparations, I will be doing this again.  I may take advantage of the season and buy more of the cranberries and other holiday foods while they are on sale.  It is a great way to stock the pantry.


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