How many times do you hear someone say I'm just going to live off the land? Anyone that has tried or is a homesteader knows that won't work, you would starve to death. Oh, I know there are some that know every plant and animal in their area that are good to eat. That list is few and far between that could actually make it. If your going to homestead, you are going to have to preserve your food. You can dry it, smoke it, salt it or can it. The easiest way for our homestead is to can it. Canning can be done two ways, water bath or pressure can. I guess for us, we were looking for a best fit to preserving everything. We choose the pressure canner, so we can do just about everything from soups to meats. Now the question: How many and what size jars would you need to feed a family of 4 for a year? Canning your meat, veggies, jams and jellies. OH 2 adults and 2 young teens.
I'm not homesteading but I've thought about this a lot. If you can everything, that is a lot of both weight and storage space. There are some things that dehydrate really well. For instance, I love tomato powder. When I can tomatoes and you've got all the skins and seeds left and you've got some tomatoes with bad spots, I dehydrate all that turn it into tomato powder and use it as I would paste. I also powder things like beans, greens, carrots, peppers. Beans make a great filler in beef, I can make instant hummus, or refried beans. You can use bean flour to add protien to breads, pancakes and other stuff.
I store dehydrated things in jars also. Right now, I have about 300 jars: 20 half gallon, 150 quart, and the rest are smaller. Some are pint and half pint sizes. I can get an insane amount of tomatoes into a quart jar powdered or even just dehydrated. Same for green pepper powder which is excellent in eggs, red sauce, meat balls, and meat loaf.
After this year and the shortage of jars and basically all canning supplies, it puts an added need to find what we can and get it bought over the winter when the season around here is on hold. I look for next year to be just as bad as more and more people have to garden just to feed their family.
i find a lot of my jars at thrift stores. garage sales and estate auctions would be a good place to look for them too, ive even seen them on Craigs list. in what i have learned is that the amount of jars depends on your families wants and needs. lets say for instance your family eats corn once a week you will need 52 quarts of corn. for each family the number will differ. don't forget about oven canning either its a good way to store pastas, beans rice and other things. if you can dehydrate things you could use a vacuum sealer to store those things. just remember to store them in a container that light cant get to them. You can also vacuum seal things in jars as well. dont forget the o2 absorbers to help keep things fresh longer storage life! i hope this is some help for you.
For four, if you're canning everything, you'll need 1000 to 1200 jars. That would be all your meals.
With the scarcity of jars right now, I got most of mine last March/April, I've been focusing on canning mainly meats and dehydrating everything else. Just in case something happens with the power. I did can most of the tomatoes from my garden. Frozen fruits and vegetables are so easy to dehydrate! Cheaper than canned too. I store most of my dehydrated things in freezer bags because I know we will be eating them within the year.
I saw a video a couple days ago with a letter from Ball. They said they will be sending jars to Walmarts, Ace Hardware and a few other hardware stores. I found jars in Republic and Aurora Walmarts last week.