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First published December 30, 2015
Since the goal of canning is to preserve foods at the height of freshness, when they are in season, I would like to share my canning plan with all of you, so that you if there is something you want to can for your family, you know when the best time would be to do it. The quantities that I am listing are my ideal to give us enough for 1 year, plus a few jars for competing in the local fair and for gifting at the holidays.
Annual Canning Plan
Jams & Jellies – 36 jars total
- strawberry jam – early June
- blueberry jam – late June
- peach jam – mid-August
- raspberry jelly (no seeds) – late July through August
- grape jelly – anytime using store-bought unsweetened Concord Grape Juice
Locally grown apples are available starting in late July through February. I get my apples from Schober Orchards in Monroeville, NJ. They have a wide variety, knowledgeable staff, and a purchase from them supports an independent family farm.
The majority of my apple canning projects take place in the winter when the other canning projects have slowed down a bit, and the house is cooler so I don’t mind the kettle going all day. That said, all of these projects can be completed any time during the apple season.
- applesauce – 100-150 quarts (yes, we eat 2-3 quarts of applesauce a week)
- apple pie filling – 12 quarts (2 quarts = 1 deep dish pie) and 12 pints (for mixing with sweet potatoes or serving alongside pork)
- apple butter – 24 half-pints
- spiced apple rings – 6 pints
Depending on the weather, tomato season starts in late July or early August. Often you can get cherry tomatoes in before that, but the larger plum tomatoes that are better for canning, start a bit later and carry through until the first hard frost, usually in early October. Between August and October, we process and can a large number of tomatoes, most grown on our own property. If you don’t have a large garden, or you need more tomatoes, talk to your local farms. Many will discount tomatoes when you purchase over 30 lbs.
- tomato sauce (no spices) – 36 quarts
- marinara – 12 quarts, 36 pints
- salsa – 12 pints
- diced tomatoes – 24 pints
I prefer home canned fruits when the fresh fruits are out of season. While a fresh peach in August tastes amazing, they are rather bland if you get on in February. As such, our family’s goal is to put up at least 24 jars of each fruit when they are in season so we can enjoy a variety of foods throughout the offseason.
- peaches – August/September
- pears – September/October
- citrus – December/January/February (this is the prime season for Florida citrus)
- pineapple – December/January (you can often find them on sale during this time)
To safely can vegetables, you will need a pressure canner. If you are not comfortable using a pressure canner, then you can continue to water bath your veggies only if you pickle them (vinegar brine). My suggestion – pressure can them or freeze them. Our family prefers most vegetables to be frozen instead of canned, but I do can some to use for soups & chili throughout the year.
- peas May/June, October/November
- string beans – June/July
- carrots – May/June, October/November
- beets – May/June, October/November
- potatoes – depending on the variety, anytime throughout the year
- sweet potatoes – fall, usually late October
- corn – late June through September
- cucumber pickles – late June through September
Do not get overwhelmed seeing this list of possibilities. Canning does not have to be an all or nothing hobby. If your family loves jam, only make that. Or if you have an apple tree on your property, only make applesauce. The purpose of this canning plan is to show you what the possibilities are and to inspire you to preserve some of your own food by home canning.
I’ve never canned and would love to get into this in 2016. More posts about canning please 🙂
Absolutely! I love canning and it is very easy to learn. I’ll be sharing more soon!
I see you said plum tomatoes are best to can with. Is it OK to use cherry as well as other varieties? I’m new to canning. Thanks!
You can can any type of tomatoes that you choose. I prefer plum tomatoes because there is more meat and fewer seeds and juice. That said, last year my home canned marinara was made primarily from grape & cherry tomatoes, and I just had to cook them down longer so the juices would evaporate. Same if you use regular slicing tomatoes – more juice just means you have to cook them down a bit longer.
You can also roast them to get some of the liquid out and it deepens the flavor of the tomatoes… I’ve been canning for many years. Key to the best canning seel: Dip a paper towel in vinegar/any kind and clean the rim of each jar before you put the seels on. Doing this will capture any oil or sugar and prevent any crystallization or oily non seels happening.. Best advice on canning I EVER received!
Hey Stephanie, thank you for buying your apples at Schober Orchards and for mentioning us in your beautiful blog! Super information about when to can.
Thank you for commenting and checking out the blog! I’ll be making my big apple trip in a few weeks. I can’t wait to stock up on your apples and cider before you close for the season.
Don’t forget canned meat when its on sale. I love having meat on the shelf for quick meals.
I too can all our meats when on sale . ..talk about fast food. Because everything pressure canned is precooked dinner can be ready in 5 minutes. I know what we are eating and no preservatives.
I’m excited to can my first batch of salsa next month. I’ve done it with my mom before, but these will be only our tomatoes from our garden! Yum! Thanks for sharing the amount you do for the year. It helps me have an idea of how much we would need.
Yes this is great information to have. It really help me understand what my goal might be.
Thanks- new to canning!
I am so glad you found this useful! What are you looking forward to canning?
Absolutely! I’ll be sharing my 2017 canning plan early next week.
Whats the best potato for canning
You can use what ever potatoes you have available, however if they are a really starchy potato like a russet, you want to soak and rinse several times before processing to remove the excess starch.
For how many are you canning?
We are a family of 5.
Not only do we can our veggies and fruits and meat. When I can get a good price on chicken drumsticks or we have excesd roosters, I can our two dogs food. Chicken, wild rice. Carrots, zuchini and green beans. For a few dollars they get healthy food. Canning, preserving,, pickling, and drying is very satisfing. Oh and we make a wonderful worcestershire sauce with apples too.
This is some interesting information. Thank you so much for the post. I will be looking for more.
Thanks for the plan. I understand the “in season-ness” of your plan but was surprised to not see meats given even a passing mention.
My husband gave me a pressure canner about 7 years ago and I love it for making stock and broth. No chicken or turkey carcass goes by without adding to my stores. You get to control the flavors and preservatives and you’d be surprised how much you can save on the kitchen budget.
I absolutely love my pressure canner and we can stock throughout the year, whenever we have the bones available to make some. With few exceptions, canning meat, poultry, and fish doesn’t have a season which is why this post focuses on produce only.
Thank you for this wonderful information. I will be incorporating this into my little plan.
I’m so glad you found it helpful! Enjoy canning season!
I can dry beans in the winter months because it warms up the house and it is nice to have your own home canned beans, I do pinto, black, white, red and black eyed peas.
I have canned dried beans a few times, and I agree, winter is the perfect time to add them to your to do list.
I have always wanted to learn how to can. I wish I would of paid more attention when my grandmother used to can. I have read books to try and teach myself but it always feels a bit daunting to me. I have felt like I don’t know where to begin or have a plan. I am definitely a person who likes to have a plan. Your guide and plan has helped me alot. Thanks for sharing. Hopefully I will finally put my fears aside and get to canning this year. My garden has done pretty well. I don’t want anything to go to waste.