This section is from the book "Save It For Winter.", by Frederick Fry Rockwell. Also available from Amazon: Save It For Winter; Modern Methods Of Canning, Dehydrating, Preserving And Storing Vegetables And Fruit For Winter Use, With Comments On The Best ... For Saving, And When And How To Grow Them.
From the foregoing chapters, it must be very evident that the matter of saving food in the home can be made a very important part of the household economy. It is worth taking seriously; it is worth doing carefully; it is worth systematically planning for.
As yet, the matter of real system in food saving has not been very carefully worked out. Our canning and drying is done, even when it is done skillfully, on a more or less haphazard basis. It is possible with a little study, however, to plan definitely how much and what kinds of food can profitably be put up in summer and fall for winter use, and to arrange for the growing of vegetables and fruits, or the buying of them, with these definite aims in view.
For instance, it is not a matter of much time or thought to figure out the number of days from the end of this year's peach season (say, October first) to the beginning of next year's (say, July fifteenth). That means for nine and a half months, or thirty-eight weeks, fresh peaches will be hard to get. If one wants canned peaches and dried peaches, an average of once each week for that period, it is an easy matter to calculate about how many cans of fruits or pounds of dried product should be put up. The same with beans, or corn, or spinach. Knowing these things, in advance, the work of providing them will be much simplified.
But this is not all that may be done, when one has determined what can be saved for winter with advantage, the next thing is to find a way of saving it with the least trouble and expense.
While work in the home kitchen is practical and gives good results, it is not the most economical way of putting up things which are wanted in considerable quantities, such as tomatoes, corn, beans, etc. It is very little more work to put up fifty cans of product, with suitable equipment, than to put up ten with the means usually at one's disposal in the home kitchen.
Cooperation in canning and drying is one of the most profitable means of saving for winter.
The American housewife, generically speaking, has yet to learn the meaning of "cooperation." She has yet to realize that she and her friends, by buying together, by working together at such things as canning and dehydrating, can save a Very considerable percentage on their table budgets. Merely to be called a "saver" has, until very recently, been almost a term of reproach, and considered a reflection upon one's "provider."
The use of a canning or dehydrating equipment by several persons does not imply the necessity of providing any special organization for that purpose. The grange, the garden club, the ladies' aid,-any suitable organization may furnish the nucleus for the purchase of such an outfit. The saving made possible by buying supplies in quantity, as well as the saving in work, will make any time spent in working up an interest in such an undertaking a good investment even from a pecuniary standpoint. From the point of view of social service, and for food conservation, I do not know of anything that is more important.
Fig. 52 - A large capacity self-contained canner and evaporator combined, suitable for community or club use. This outfit has a capacity of 600 3-lb. cans per day, and 3 to 5 bushels of evaporated fruits or vegetables per day.