We all want to have healthy food on the table, but finding time to preserve it can be difficult. Smart preservers know the value of time management as they make room in their schedule.
We often think that daily scheduling only has to do with work or home organization tasks, but creating and following a schedule when it comes to preserving food is the best way to add healthy food into your diet and make use of your time as efficiently as possible.
Schedules help you meet deadlines, keep appointments, and stay focused on the goals that you have set. The fact is following a schedule can be difficult – especially if you have not planned out your day or preserving season in the past.
Here are some things to keep in mind while making and maintaining your goal to add preserving into your schedule.
Make a Seasonal To-Do List
The first thing to consider when setting up a schedule is to know what food is available to preserve, and in what season. Knowing the season will ensure that you get the food at the best price.
Make a list of everything that you want to preserve this year and how it will be preserved – canned, frozen, dehydrated, pickled, fermented, or place in cold storage. Use the article Six Ways to Preserve and Store Produce for help in choosing a preserving method and get the ‘Common Preserving Methods for 50 fruit and Vegetables’ handout below. Once you’ve made your lists, you can decide how much time you need for each activity and use this to develop a seasonal schedule.
Use a Calendar or Planner for Big Batches
Record all of your scheduled preserving batches in one organizational tool like a calendar or planner. You can use a physical copy or an app on your phone, but it’s important to use the same planner for all of your scheduling.
Using one scheduling tool makes sure that all of your preserving goals will be in the same place, are easily accessible, and that you have no conflicting schedules. That way, you won’t schedule preserving peaches during the week of family vacation.
Simplify scheduling as much as possible; it will keep you on track and relieve some of the busyness associated with the preserving process at harvest time. Try this preservation planner from Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth (it’s free) if you want to plan in more detail.
Don’t plan out a preserving schedule that you won’t be able to keep and be sure to give yourself plenty of time between preserving days. If you are doing big batch preserving (a 40-pound box at a time), there will be a lot of commotion in the house that day, and your regular schedule will be interrupted.
Make sure you allow yourself breaks throughout the day, drink plenty of water, and take into consideration that you will be standing for most of the day, so wear comfortable shoes (or no shoes!)
Keep an Eye on the Small Batch
Big batch reserving can help to fill your pantry quickly, but don’t forget to keep an eye on the small batch opportunity. There will often be half a zucchini, half a bag of spinach or a few apples that will not be consumed by the time they are past their prime.
Locate the book WECK Small Batch Preserving (Amazon) at your local library for ideas
These small batches can be cut and prepared as you are making lunch or dinner and placed in the dehydrator or freezer each day. You will cut down on preparation time and reduce the amount of food that is wasted.
Small batch dehydrating can be accomplished in as little as 15 minutes a day. Don’t pass it up!
Keep At It
Like any habit, good or bad, you have to keep at it to truly make it stick. The same applies to learn how to properly manage and maintain a preserving schedule that you can consistently follow each day and season.
Keeping an eye on the schedule you’ve set, and spreading out the process will make it less stressful and easier to follow through with each time you plan out your day. Persistence is key!
Expect the Unexpected
More often than not, things don’t quite go according to plan. Don’t be stressed out if your preserving schedule doesn’t happen exactly like you were expecting. Be prepared to make adjustments to your preserving schedule if the situation calls for it.
So, if a good deal on asparagus comes up and you haven’t scheduled for it, make sure you will still have time to see to everything on your daily routine.
These tips cover the basics of adding preserving into your daily and seasonal schedule. After you’ve followed this schedule for a while you, and become aware of the small batch options, will find that you finding time to preserve food daily is easier than you think.
Other preserving articles from Rockin W Homestead
Smart Preservers Know the Value of a Plan (this post)