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Canned vs frozen
Old 03-12-2008, 08:24 AM   #1
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Canned vs frozen

Oooh baby!! I'm gonna start a war!! Not on purpose, but I bet it happens.

I grew up in a house of four boys and anywhere from 2-6 foster kids at any given time. Feeding that horde was not cheap. But Dad was a depression baby and so was very frugal. Breads, cakes, pies etc all came from the day-old store. In our basement we had three large chest freezers. One for meat, one for baked foods, and one for veggies. The only canned veggies we ever ate was corn. And I'm sure my prejudice against canned veggies stems from those mushy, tasteless, over cooked veggies served in school cafeterias to this day.

This summer starts a grand experiment at our house with our first backyard flock of chickens. And since I retire this summer I am planning a pretty large garden with the intent of preserving a large part of our winter veggies. My question is, should I go canned or frozen?

I do not want to spend the winter eating pale, pasty, mushy canned veggies. I want something crisp and full of flavor. I want veggies that are going to not only withstand the cooking process but actually contribute to the flavor and texture of the meals they are added to. My interest in possibly canning them is to reduce my dependence upon electricity and the fossil fuels that create it.

Hence the title, canned vs frozen.
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Old 03-12-2008, 08:37 AM   #2
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I have a tiny garden, am a fresh produce lover, so I say frozen by far.
Last summer I had 10 tomato plants (for me and my aged mother), and boiled down 40 plus containers of tomatoes. I just am at the end of the bunch now.
Made all kinds of things with them.
Frozen green beans are so much better than canned, and this year I am putting up 2 stalks of string beans to eat--along with sage and other spices.
Frozen corn is good, too. Frozen, frozen, frozen is my vote.
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Old 03-12-2008, 08:37 AM   #3
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Canned foods can be very helpful during electrical outages due to hurricanes, ice storms, and similar natural reasons. Are these a factor in your area, and if so how long might the electricity be out? At least that is something to think about since it would give you some idea as to the quantity of canned foods that might be helpful to store.

Maybe you could disguise canned vegetables in casseroles or something and learn to like them sometimes. If you don't like to eat canned vegetables at all except during electrical outages, I can't imagine that you would want to do much canning.

Are you going to butcher those chickens yourself and eat them? If so you are a stronger person than I am! I am SUCH a city girl.

My grandmother was more accustomed to country living, and her 60'x250' back yard was entirely laid out in compact rows of vegetables. She tended to them every day, and we would help her to cut up the green beans and so on for canning. She canned everything with a pressure cooker and my father was always afraid that it was dangerous. She was careful, though, and never had a problem. She had a cave like cellar under her house in Springfield, where she kept enough canned food to last an army a hundred years. Company for dinner? No problem. She just sent the grandchildren under the house to bring her whatever she needed. Everything was in neatly labeled Bell jars and organized by row.

Sorry - - sometimes these memories come flooding back. Didn't mean to get off topic!
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Old 03-12-2008, 08:49 AM   #4
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We froze certain veggies, we canned the tomatoes, peppers , froze a bunch of herbs, always froze the beans.
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Old 03-12-2008, 08:56 AM   #5
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Freeze the stuff that is low acid, like green beans, and can the easier stuff like tomatoes. That is what Mom does. It takes a pretty bold eater to eat just anyone's canned green beans! I am petrified of botulism and canned low acid veggies. Mom made all sorts of tomato sauces, diced tomatoes, whole peeled, etc to use. Also canning is good for making jams and jellies with fruits.

You might also think in terms of growing in three seasons and trying to eat fresh (I say naively, as here in Charleston it only gets cold for about 10 minutes each winter). Sometimes using a small greenhouse (passive solar heating) can extend your season enough to keep you in fresh stuff longer so you don't have to rely on the canned/frozen except during the harshest winter months.
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Old 03-12-2008, 10:56 AM   #6
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Ease, taste, texture & time all make freezing my choice. One freezer leaves me a bit of a space challenge. I do make jams and jellies and can them.
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Old 03-12-2008, 01:11 PM   #7
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I agree with Sarah. Canned tomatoes work out just fine, but freeze or dry the beans and freeze corn (best sheared off the cob)and fruits like blueberries, stawberries and rasberries. Cooked squash keeps well frozen. Try if possible to cold store the root veggies, like carrots, potatoes, etc. If you don't have a cold place to store, you can dig a hole bury them, covering liberally with straw. If you are too far north this is tough to do because of the frost depth issues. We had a root cellar tunneled off of our basement and kept carrots, squash, potatoes, cabbage and apples through the winter.


We have access to a lot of apple trees my father planted years ago. Last year I sliced and dried apples. They were delicious but I did too many.

We raised chicken for eggs, so they weren't the best eating. We canned a fair amount of the meat from old chickens. Canned meat can be surprisingly good. For example, canned venison with tomatoes is fabulous.

You have had chickens before? If not, be aware that they can be mean cusses.
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Old 03-12-2008, 01:36 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by LeatherneckPA View Post
Hence the title, canned vs frozen.
Partly it depends on how reliable your power is, or how stormy your area is.

I have lost a lot of frozen food over the years when one storm after another brought down the big trees over the wires and it might take days for utility crews to reach my isolated location.

OTOH, my grandparents had a farm with a big kitchen garden, and no electricity at all. So canned it was, and certain vegetables anyway and most fruits are very good that way.

Ha
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Old 03-12-2008, 02:19 PM   #9
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Frozen!!!

no contest...LOL
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Old 03-13-2008, 08:26 AM   #10
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Don't remember ever being without power more than a couple of hours in the last 17 years here.

Butchering chickens is not a problem. BTDTOTTS

Our cellar is divided and the northern half can be turned into a root cellar relatively easy, I think.

Thanks for the input folks. Looks like we'll be doing a lot of freezing. Tomatoes, salsa, and pickles look like the only canning. Oh, and jams/jellies. What's the differences anyway? Jams, jellies, preserves? Sounds like soda vs pop to me.
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Old 03-13-2008, 08:47 AM   #11
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Jams have seeds/pulp. Jelly is clear.
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Old 03-13-2008, 08:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Jams have seeds/pulp. Jelly is clear.
And preserves have chunks of fruit.
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:10 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by LeatherneckPA View Post
Don't remember ever being without power more than a couple of hours in the last 17 years here.

Butchering chickens is not a problem. BTDTOTTS

Our cellar is divided and the northern half can be turned into a root cellar relatively easy, I think.

Thanks for the input folks. Looks like we'll be doing a lot of freezing. Tomatoes, salsa, and pickles look like the only canning. Oh, and jams/jellies. What's the differences anyway? Jams, jellies, preserves? Sounds like soda vs pop to me.
As a little safety precaution against a power outage, keep the empty space in your freezer filled with plastic jugs full of water. The extra frozen mass will keep the freezer cold for a long time if the juice goes off.
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Old 03-13-2008, 10:36 AM   #14
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I guess I should say that I boiled the tomatoes, pulled off the skin and stuffed many into plastic containers with lids--and froze them. They were wonderful! You can use the tomatoes for a multitude of dinner items then from spaghetti to soups to salsa! And they last in the freezer, too.
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