Woman preserves 426 meals in jars to feed her family for eight months

A savvy mother of three has prepped and preserved 426 meals to feed her family for the next eight months.

Farm owner Kelsey Shaw, from Indiana in the US, said she began preserving her produce in 2017 so that her family could eat home-grown food all year round.

Shaw is self-taught and knows how to preserve a variety of foods, from pickles to beef stew, using methods such as dehydration and water-canning.

Her family consumes fresh food from the farm during the summer months. It is during this time that she gets to work preserving food for the months to come.

She said it means that she is already prepared for any natural disaster or pandemic that could disrupt food supply chains.

“When we moved to the farm we wanted to live a slower lifestyle and wanted to know what we were eating and where it was coming from,” Shaw explained.

“I taught myself how to preserve food and learnt lots of hacks like making corncob jelly which tastes like honey.

“It does take a long time. I spend at least two hours a day in the garden and then the process of preserving things can take days as I go back to things in stages.

Shaw’s pantry full of meals

(Kelsey Shaw / SWNS)

“It is a skill to be able to do all the preserving. I’m very proud every time I walk in the pantry.”

She said the meals should last for the family from October through to May.

The family’s lifestyle proved particularly useful during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, as they “didn’t have to panic about running out of food”.

Shaw uses dehydration and water canning

(Kelsey Shaw / SWNS)

Another positive of having meals stacked in her pantry is that Shaw does not have to worry about making dinner after a busy day.

“I preserved whole meals, so I’ll make jars of beef stew and then put them in a pressure canner, so they are then ready to keep and use whenever I need them,” she explained.

“Preserving food is time consuming but I’ve found a real love for it, and it makes meals easier for us as a family. We’re prepared for anything.”

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