Saturday, June 23, 2007

Cha-ching - canning Strawberry - Rhubarb Jam

This canning season I have promised myself that I will do the math. Since it's the beginning of canning season easy to keep this promise.
Don't hold me to it when it's the dog days of August and I am knee deep in back to school activities, gleening, foraging, and preserving our harvest.
Doing the math means figuring the cost of canning start to finish minus the cost of jars & rings. Since I have been canning for over 5 years coupled with the majority of my jars were free or dirt cheap they have long since been bought free & clear.
So the math should figure like this; ingredients such as produce, spices/flavorings, preserving agents such as vinegar/salt, pectin, any portion that we're unable to grow or obtain free, and canning lids.
The cost of my antique laundry stove $125 will be deducted @ the end of canning season along with my new canner $140. Fuel was obtained free unless you count elbow grease donated by my Husband.
The finished product will then be priced by comparison to a similar retail product. Weather I would actually pay the retail price is doubtful.
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam - 12 oz. jar @ the local farmer's market $ 4.69.
Organically grown strawberries from our farm - free (4 plants bought @ wally's in 2000 for under $10 now 3 separate raised beds cost as long been absorbed).
Rhubarb - 2 plants bought last spring - $ 10.00. First year actually utilizing it.
Sugar - 2 bags 5 lbs. each bought in Dec. as a loss leader (holiday baking sale) - .99 each.
Pectin - 2 boxes off brand (not Ball) - .99 each.
Lemon - 1/2 cup of squeezed juice (bought clearance after New Years then frozen) 27 cents.
Total cost of ingredients & 13 canning lids (.08 per lid) = $15.27 which netted 13 pints (12 oz mason jars) of jam. Didn't figure in tax or city water used so add a buck bringing it up to $16.27 for 13 pints.
Had I bought the almost two quarts of non organic strawberries @ the farmer's market then bring up the cost by another $7.00. Rhubarb no clue as couldn't find any retail to price.
13 jars of artisan jam = $ 60.97
13 jars of Mom's jam = $ 16.27 or $1.25 per jar.
Selling a 5 quarts of berries @ the going rate would offset the total cost.
Not paying retail for rhubabr plants duh. I have an addiction when it comes to gardening. I'd work my steps but well needed stepping stones by the roses.
This jam will be used on toast, bagels, and as a topping on hot oatmeal, frozen yogurt, or mixed into homemade plain yogurt.
Figure that we will eat about a jar a week so these 13 pints will help fill in half of one spot on a six month menu.
My goal is to have a pantry stocked to last our family of five for six months.
~~ pelenaka ~~
having goals provides fodder for conversations with your P.O.

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Thanks, good to know there are other's with this interest