How I’m Using New Technology for an Old-Fashioned Task

Gardening Tips & How-to's · In the Garden

Maybe it comes with my generation – the one who remembers the emergence of the Internet but who was young enough to learn it quickly. I love my technology.

The other evening I realized I needed to better organize my canning this summer. When everything starts coming in at once, it’s hard to make a plan on what to preserve, how much to preserve, and how much to give away. So I decided I’d get on the ball early.

Canning planning | journeywithjill.net
A busy day from last year: black-eyed peas, pickled okra, green beans, sweet relish, banana peppers, basil pesto, frozen okra…whew! I’m tired just thinking about it!

Matt bought me a tablet for Mother’s Day. After doing research, I chose the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. The stylus won me over. I just loved being able to write on the screen. Plus the S-Note and Scrapbook features are AWESOME!!

The possibilities are endless really on how to use these features for organization, but I thought I’d share how I used it for my canning preparation. Of course, this could be easily done with an old-fashioned pen and paper, but considering it took me 10 minutes to find my handwritten canning tally from last year, I thought this would be much more efficient for me.

Plus, everything created through S-note is automatically backed up to my Evernote account, which is a huge peace of mind should anything happen to my tablet. (Sidenote: LOVE Evernote. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s like a digital file cabinet. I use it for everything from my writing to my to-do list.)

First Step: Last Year’s Canning Tally

The first thing I had to do was evaluate my canning from last year. Was what I made enough? Too much? Are there recipes I’ll drop altogether?

I divided my canning into three categories: tomatoes, vegetables, and fruit. I wrote down how much I canned of each recipe.

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Second Step: Predicting this Year’s Need

Then I created a simple key and labeled how much I speculated I’d need this year compared to last year. Now, when I’m smothered in tomatoes, for example, and am making spaghetti sauce, I’ll know I’d like to make about 20 quarts to last until next season.

Third Step: Setting the Canning Order

Last year I was completely unorganized in my canning. I canned spaghetti sauce first, before my peppers were ready. It would have been much more efficient to begin with the tomato products that didn’t need additional ingredients. Then, as the peppers began coming on, I could work on the mixed recipes.

I only really needed to do this with tomatoes since there are so many recipes I want to do this year, but this would be necessary for any crop that has multiple uses, such as cucumbers or fruit.

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Fourth Step: List New Recipes and Location

When I’m neck-deep in okra, I’ll want to be able to find that new Paula Deen pickled okra recipe quickly (Matt thought the one from the Ball book was way too sour). So I listed every new recipe I’ve come across in canning magazines or Pinterest, along with their page, if applicable. On Pinterest, I have boards dedicated to canning tomatoes, vegetables, fruit, and herbs, for quicker reference.

Final Step: Begin a Current Canning Tally

This year’s plan was only as good as my meticulous notes from last year, which is why keeping an ongoing tally is so important. I dropped the ball on my frozen foods (okra, cucumber pickles, basil pesto, etc.) and didn’t keep a tally of them, so I’m shooting in the dark this year. But I’ve learned my lesson and will begin a Frozen Tally page as well.

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Can you tell I’m a little excited about the canning season? Please remind me of that come September and my pressure canner is begging for mercy.

Do you use technology to organize your household tasks?

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