top of page

Episode 350 S12-12

Preserving Your Harvest


Special Guest:

Little House in the Big Woods Ch 12

Survivor Jane

Preserving and growing your own food is the fastest way to save money, and it will only save you more as the future progresses. Preserving food isn’t as difficult as you may think. With some easily navigated, you to can begin saving today.

Play the Podcast

Audio Drama Slide end a (YouTube Display Ad) (1800 x 720 px) (2600 x 720 px)(3).png

Download Day After Disaster for FREE!

One week commercial-free access to the audio drama, access to the Changing Earth Archives, behind-the-scenes clips, and more!

Preserving and growing your own food is the fastest way to save money, and it will only save you more as the future progresses. Preserving food isn’t as difficult as you may think. With some easily navigated, you to can begin saving today.

As we continued our review of Little House in the Big Woods, we learned about harvest time before convenience stores. Guest of the show, Survivor Jane, explained that when the pioneers were moving west, one of the first things the settlers would set up was a barn or root cellar, even before building a home.

Now is the time to learn to grow your own food. It is not enough to have a seed bank stored up. You have to know how to grow and preserve the plants and products the seeds will produce. The area you live in or zone will dictate your planting patterns, and if you move regions, you’ll have to learn all over again. Even experience doesn’t always equal success when it comes to gardening. Many aspects can cause varying results.

What you need to do is pay attention to nature. Learn the seasons and when the plants go through their natural growth cycles. Planting in rows is not the best way to create a long-term food supply that will produce year after year with minimal tending. The book authored by Jane’s husband, The Secret Garden of Survival, explains the concept of planting a forest that produces an endless bounty of food.

The focus of many long-term food stores often revolves around flour and rice, but these are not necessary elements in a diet. Jane does grow a limited amount of wheat, but the product is used to feed animals, not humans. Red and white berries can be dried and ground into flour as a replacement. Get creative, think outside the box and develop alternatives.

Get a cookbook and learn. All you need to be able to do is follow directions. Each step matters, so follow them carefully. Once you have a solid idea of how things work, you can begin implementing different items and testing the results. Learn as many as you can. Once food preservation becomes a lifestyle, you will start seeking out new and creative ways to preserve the product to create variety in your pantry. Canning, freezing, dehydrating, and possibly even freeze-drying are all viable options that you have to choose from.

You can turn your harvest into anything you buy from the store as long as you are creative. Space is not an excuse. Even a small patio can be home to containers growing edible items to help supplement your diet. Plus, it gives you valuable gardening skills. If you want more information, follow this micro-gardening link.

Save the seeds from your own plants. The plants you grow create a bounty of potential future food. Those plants that grow well in your region and soil PH will create seeds of the same genetics and should do well in the future.

Pay attention to the plants in your garden. When do they grow better? Are they becoming yellow? Once you learn the plant’s signs, you can protect them before everything falls apart. Trim off the dying parts from the plants so that the plant does not keep trying to extend energy to the dead limb. It will increase the overall health and look of your garden.

I asked Jane to do a lightning round on her favorite preservation methods

Nuts – only store short-term because the fats will cause them to go rancid without preservatives. Eat them.

Fruit – dehydrate them, make jellies or jam, and freeze dry.

Vegetables – dehydrate them into powder, freeze dry.

Eggs – dehydrate, freeze dry. Before the shortages, some were animal food, but now, each one is saved.

Meat – freezer, freeze dry. Jerky contains too much fat to store long-term unless it has preservatives or the fat is rendered off, and the meat is heavily salted.

Jellies and jams are not as valuable as you might imagine, especially if bread is not a part of your diet. They also require a large amount of sugar to make. I’ve tested many sugar-free recipes but haven’t cared as much for them. Jane also found this to be true. She tried honey in place of sugar, but the honey flavor was overwhelming. Now, Jane mostly cans her fruit in a very light syrup, and I’m doing the same this year.

Once you get a food storage supply growing, take a moment to assess what you have. Then the next time you are preserving, choose a different way to increase the variety in your pantry.

Vinegar is a valuable product that you can produce from many fruits, but Jane uses grapes. It’s a beautiful preservative, and you can use it as a cleaner.

Salt will also become an issue. Animal feed stores sell salt licks; buy the mineral-free ones. You can buy them in bulk, but they are becoming harder to find. Stock a few of these blocks, and when you need more, you can break a chunk off.

Light, air, and temperature are the destroyers of preserved food. Store your food supply in a dark, cool area. A cellar will significantly extend the life of food. It’s not hard to build a cellar. Even a freezer buried in the dirt will work.

Jars will become an issue. There used to be manufacturing facilities dotting small communities back in the day, but the primary production factories have taken over these days. For lids, you can buy reusable ones. They come in all sizes of jar tops, and you can buy a bag of 100 for around $20. You can use each one twenty times. Jane has even hot water-bathed jars with these lids but wouldn’t recommend pressure canning with them. Whenever you are trying something new, have a test jar where you can see it.

Canning is a science, and properly maintaining your jars is essential if you want to be able to reuse them multiple times. Ensure you follow the directions and get everything warm before heating the jars intensely. Don’t use metal with the jars because it can cause microfractures. Having a jar full of precious food and work explode and become useless is a heartbreaking experience.

Jane also has goats, so she has a supply of dairy. They are low-impact animals, and you can turn the milk into all kinds of cheese products. I’ve interviewed Survivor Jane on this in the past, and you can follow this link to learn more about raising goats.

Getting back to the gardens, the key to the survival garden is a reliable supply of perennial plants. These are plants that will regrow year after year in your zone. Do your homework here to find the right mix for you. The annual plants, which need to be planted year after year, are planted throughout the perennial forest. The vegetables that fall from the vine will often create “renegade” plants that naturally grow from last year’s seeds. Wait until your zone is clear of frost risk before planting the annuals.

Even if you live in suburban America and a garden is not in your community’s rules, you can grow food. Plant an edible landscape. If you are going to plant a “flower” bed, plant herbs, berry bushes, and vegetables there. If you’re going to plant a tree, make it a fruit or nut tree.

Start gently alerting your friends and family to the genuine possibility of food shortages. Plant the seeds in their mind, but remember not all seeds grow, and that’s okay.

What can you do today? Get what your family needs to get by. Get seeds and start them now! Stock up. Go to bulk food stores and buy a flat of vegetables instead of a can. Buy a variety of items, so you have options. Just one extra can each time you go shopping can add up fast. Forgo the latte and make a preparedness budget. Buy the product you need and don’t rely upon name brands. Generics are the same and usually less expensive.

It will take work to get you off the lazy instant life habits most of us have grown accustomed to. Save seeds from your own garden. Allow one item from each plant to ripen, scrape out the seeds, wash the plant parts off and dry them on a paper towel. Once they are dry, put them in an envelope, label, and save.

You will thank yourself for your efforts later. As food prices continue to skyrocket, you can cut that cost with a bit of planning and preservation.

Sharing is Caring!

Please Subscribe, Like and Share

Follow us on social media to discuss the novels, audio drama, and latest podcast takeaways.

  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
Little House in the Big Woods Ch 12

Survivor Jane

Like so many women, Jane was a self-professed "oblivious-to-what-was-going-on-around-me" city girl. She was clueless about politics, the economy and the ever changing weather patterns around her.

It wasn't until she personally experienced a life-threatening assault at gun-point, live through several violent hurricanes, and watched as her 401k dwindled down next to nothing that her eyes began to open to what was going on around her.

In 2008 she took a huge leap of faith - quit her corporate job, sold her home for next to nothing, cash-in my 401k which was even more next to nothing - and moved to Western North Carolina to learn to live a more self-sustaining and self-reliant lifestyle.

Giving up the life of eating at different restaurants each night and having her nails and hair done every two weeks - she began to research how to prepare for uncertain times and still retain her "girlie-ness". While searching preparedness web sites she noticed that most were "male-oriented". Frustrated at the need to research a word, phrase or term that she didn't understand each time she went on one of these sites, it began to dawn on her that the reason she didn't understand these sites was because a lot of them were written by men, and as we all know, men and women speak a different language and therefore process information differently.


Jane decided then and there to make it her mission to educate others; with an emphasis on women, on how to better prepare themselves by creating the website - writing on a multitude of topics dealing with disaster survival and preparedness; while interjecting bits and pieces of humor on personal experiences, discoveries and her journey along the way. also reaches preparedness-minded men who may have just begun their preparedness journey, or have sent the women in their lives, albeit, girl-friend, wife, daughters, mother, aunts or grandmothers to the site and in the process was also helped to better understand preparedness from a women's perspective.

As an additional outreach, Jane uses social media networks. She is the creator of the internationally recognized hashtag #PrepperTalk on Twitter that brings preparedness-minded people from all over the world together to discuss preparedness ideas, suggestions and information with one another. It is currently the Largest Prepper Community on Twitter.

Jane has been featured on National Geographic Channel's Doomsday Preppers (Season Four) and in Newsweek Special Edition Off-Grid, Prepper and Shooter Magazine, Prepared Magazine. She is a contributing writer to National Geographic Channel's Doomsday Preppers BlogTV.

"Where There Is No Cosmetic Counter" and it's 1st Revision: "Emergency/Survival Hygiene" were written out of a need to bring more awareness to one of the most overlooked areas in Preparedness: "Personal Hygiene" by showing easy ways to make survival personal hygiene products. After all, infectious diseases are the number one cause of death worldwide.

In her book "What Could Possibly Go Wrong: How To Go From Completely Clueless to Totally Prepared" she "talks to the reader" in easy to understand language about her personal experiences and what she has learned could go wrong around us and how we can better prepare ourselves and family for these uncertain times. 

bottom of page