How To Plan Your Pantry

by Kathy on July 11, 2013 in Food, Gardening, Homemaking


Canning and freezing are a lot of work, but preserving your own food is one of the most satisfying homemaking task when it is finished. I love hearing those lids pop as they seal after a day of canning.  You may wonder if canning is worth all the hard work, I believe it is! There are seasons of life that it is difficult to can and that is OK, that does not mean you are a failure at homemaking.

Most of us were not brought up preserving our food, which makes it a daunting task to tackle. It is so important that our daughters learn this skill. As they get older, they are able come along side us and be a huge help to the family.  Hopefully, by the time they have their own home, canning will just come naturally for them…because that is in-part what skilled homemakers do!

Whether you’re harvesting your own fruits and vegetables, buying from the local farmer’s market or buying straight from the grocery store, summer is the best time to stock up on groceries at good prices!  Of course the best way to save money on food and to stock up your pantry is to can, freeze or dry as much as possible.

Plan to stock your pantry for winter or hard times. Teach your kids to always be planning for the future. It’s not just about living for the day, but about thinking ahead, to provide for your own and to meet the needs of others.


He who gathers in summer is a prudent son,
but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.

Proverbs 10:5

It Begins with a Good Plan

  • Estimate how much of your usual food you need to last your family 6-12 months.

Some Examples:

We usually eat green beans once a week, which is 1 or 2 jars to feed 6 of us. Some weeks we may not eat green beans and some weeks we may have company and need extra, so this is an average.

  • Green Beans – 40 weeks x 2 jars = 80 quart jars

I canned 28 jars from one bushel, so 1 – 1 1/2 more bushel will give me enough for the fall through the spring, and we eat fresh beans during the summer. This amount applies to sweet corn too.

We are pasta lovers and I make my own sauce. I need 4 quarts of tomatoes a month for sauce and 2 more quarts a month for soup, chili, etc…

  • Tomatoes– I plan 6 quarts a month x 12 months = 72 quarts to last me a year. I usually do about 100, better to have to many than run short.

  • Jam and Jellies- 1 -1/2 pint a month for us, plus I make 10-15 to give away, they make great hostess gifts = 25 -1/2 pints.


  • Apples- 2 jars per pie. I make pies for us occasionally, but I mostly make them for fellowship meals and desserts to take other places. Plan on 20-30 quart jars.

  • Berries– for pies, pancakes, waffels, muffins, I can as many as I can, at least 20 quarts.

I prefer berries frozen for smoothies and such, I try to freeze 10-15 quart size ziplocks.


Having a list of what you need helps you to be alert to good sales while items are at their peak season. Watch for great prices and buy in bulk.  Keep your canning supplies stocked and ready to be used.  Even if you are only canning one canner at a time (7 quarts for mine) it is better than canning nothing.


Other items to can:

  • squash
  • banana peppers
  • potatoes
  • apple sauce
  • vegetable soup
  • tomato soup
  • pickles


It does take some extra work, but it is SO WORTH IT!


Can Outside to Keep the House Cool

Pros and Cons of Canning

How to Make Jar Labels 





Kathy Brodock, is the wife of Jeff Brodock, and mother of seven children, three of whom are adopted. She is a homeschool veteran of over 20 years and is an author and video producer. She also enjoys the fiber arts of quilting and crocheting, along with the culinary arts of cake decorating and catering. But her heart is truly one of a wife, mother and homemaker. Her home on the web is

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Jamie July 11, 2013

Thanks for demonstrating the math of how to plan! It’s been rainy here and a lot of crops are delayed, but I can’t wait to start canning in earnest. One of the best canning hacks I’ve run across is using an asparagus pot (picked mine up for $10) for small-batch canning (one quart jar or two pint jars). It’s such a blessing when you have just one or two jars too many for your full-size canner or those one-off end-of-summer handfuls of things. 🙂

Rebekah Kortman July 11, 2013

Would you post your pasta sauce recipe, please?????

Kathy July 11, 2013

I will share it. Keep an eye out for it soon. 🙂

Kristine July 11, 2013

This is the way I do it – I look at what I need in my pantry and plan to plant and can/dry to fulfill those needs. This year the weather has adversely affected our garden. I know I won’t make these quotas. I should have enough fruit to process but my beans, tomatoes, and other vegetables will be quite skimpy. This is why I like to plan and can for 2 years whenever possible. Gardening and the fact that we can’t control things, only be faithful in working it, keep me relying closely on God’s providence. Last year, an early bloom and hard frost ensured there was no fruit, but canning and drying all I could the year before meant that we had enough to get by until this year’s harvest, which is looking like it will be very generous. I am hoping that my diligence in 2012 canning an abundance of vegetables will get us through until 2014 when perhaps we’ll have another good gardening year. One of the things I like about gardening is that it constantly reminds me of my dependence on God, my frailty as a human, and the miracle of His creation.

Amber July 11, 2013

Thanks for posting this! I have been looking to start canning for a while now but wasn’t sure exactly where to start. With all of the rain we’ve had a lot of the crops are delayed in our area as well but the farmer’s market is just getting up and running so I think I will definitely have to make a stop there in the next week or so.

Lexie Robinson July 11, 2013

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. I have become the cook of my household recently and I’ve tried canning and I just started a garden so hopefully I will have some things to preserve and freeze in a few months. This post is awesome thank you so much.

Leah July 11, 2013

I can truly see the benefits to canning some things, such as tomato sauce, but doesn’t canning kill all the nutrients in the vegetables and fruits?

Hannah July 11, 2013

Thank you for sharing your list! I’ve only been canning for a few years. Last year I put up lots of chutneys, jams and condiments, but this year I want to focus more on ‘whole’ fruits and vegetables. Would you care to share how you store all your preserves? I have mine scattered throughout the house, but I’m planning on revamping an unused area of my laundry room to store most of my jars. Thank you!

Caroline July 11, 2013

Where do you store all those quarts and pints? Do you just have a very large pantry? I may be able to convince my hubby to see the cost savings of canning if I can convince him we can store it, but have no idea how/where!

Missy July 11, 2013

This is great! I’ve been wondering how to calculate how much to can. I’ve been wanting to can potatoes. I wonder how many adults a quart jar of potatoes would feed. I have to store my canned goods in my basement on a bookshelf. It isn’t really ideal for me, but it works. Thanks so much Kathy!

Jill's Home Remedies July 13, 2013

I really enjoy canning and I agree that it is very worth it! 🙂

connie McCullough July 14, 2013

Recently read a person canned dry beans and peas;I thought this was a good way for some who do not have access to bountiful vegetables. Just think these would come in handy if you wanted a quick meal. If a disaster did happen. one would have food prepared. The access to water might be hampered.

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