This is my "quiet season:" rather than working the soil, harvesting, canning, tincturing and drying, I am researching and planning. The garden plot is "settled" (draw up, rotated) and the seeds (if not saved) have been ordered. My garden plans are elaborate: they are detailed and sometimes colorful—and included companions within rows and categories. Herbs and flowers are woven between vegetables...and there are separate herb, fruit and flower beds. We have trees: plum, pear, cherry, elderberry, apple. There are currents, strawberries and raspberries.
One of my favorite things to in the winter is to check back to my canning logs. Each year I keep a list of what I made, where I got the recipe, how it worked out and if there were any errors or changes I would make next time around. I give the recipes stars—so it's easy for me to see visually what I should repeat and avoid (using up resources!). I'm itching to get back to it—so recall I froze elderberries, cherries and raspberries at the end of the season...when I was too busy to deal. So, I'll make some syrups and jellies while I wait for the snows to melt and the seedlings to grow...and the tree and bushes to bare fruit. Yummy!
Favorite canning books:
Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff (five stars!)
Ball's Blue Book Guide to Preserving (with some adaptations, another five star reference)
Putting Food By by Ruth Hertzberg, Beatrice Vaughan and Janet Greene (timeless)
Preserving by the Pint by Marisa McClellan (perfect for small quantity canning)