Tips and tricks for perfect home-cooked meals every time


Kelsey Shaw, a -year-old mother of three, has been preserving food from her -acre farm since the family moved to Crown Point, Indiana in September . Shaw has enough preserved food to feed her family for the next eight months. Shaw taught herself how to preserve everything from pickles to beef stew using methods such as dehydration and water-canning. It takes Shaw three months to preserve all the food.

Shaw started preserving food so her family could eat homegrown food all year round, but it also means she is prepared for any natural disaster or pandemic that could cause an issue in the supply chain. Shaw, a stay-at-home mom and photographer, said: “When we moved to the farm we wanted to live a slower lifestyle and wanted to know what we were eating and where it was coming from. I taught myself how to can and preserve food so we could have fresh food all year.

“Food preservation is a passion of mine–I love learning new tricks, like making corncob jelly that tastes like honey. It does take a lot of time, though. I easily spend two hours a day tending to the garden, and the actual preserving process can take days when you factor in all the different stages. But it’s a skill that I’m proud to have mastered.

My pantry is always stocked with enough preserved food to last us two meals a day from October to May. It was a lifesaver during the pandemic, when we didn’t have to worry about going to the grocery store as often.

I learned the art of preserving food after moving from Highland, Indiana, to my family’s farm in Crown Point, Indiana, with my husband, Nathanial Shaw, and our three children. I started by learning from books and watching videos online to can pickles, but now preserve everything I can. We grow fresh fruit and vegetables on our farm, and have chickens and dairy goats, which we later eat. I preserved whole meals, so I’ll make jars of beef stew and then put them away for later.

“I always make sure to have a pressure canner on hand so that I can preserve food for later use. It really comes in handy on days when I’m busy and don’t have time to cook dinner from scratch. I have tomatoes preserved in lots of different ways – like tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes in my pantry – and I try to use every part of the food, even the skins. I dehydrate the skins to make powder that can be added to meals. Keeping an inventory of what I have helps me to use everything before it goes bad.

“I focus on one thing at a time,” she said. “So, one day I’ll pick all the peppers and preserve them. The next I’ll do the tomatoes. This helps me to be efficient with my time.” Shaw also keeps her pantry fully stocked with items she can’t grow, such as flour, rice, and pasta. “We’re minutes from a supermarket, so I often go every two weeks just to keep us stocked on those kinds of things,” she said. “We eat as fresh as we can and have eggs from our chickens for breakfast. We try to be zero waste, so food scraps are given to the chickens or used in compost.

What we can learn

In conclusion, it is clear that pressure canning food is a great way to preserve it for later use. Not only does it save time, but it also allows you to use every part of the food, including the skin. Dehydrating the skin into powder is a great way to add extra nutrition to your meals. Keeping an inventory of what you have on hand helps you to use everything before it goes bad.


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