Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How do you know how much to can or freeze?

I love to have sweet corn from the freezer in December, home canned green beans, homemade apple butter and so on and on, but I hate to run out of it come February so I have some tips to help you figure out how much you need for your family to last throughout the year.

Let's take green beans first:

  • Think about how much your family eats green beans.  Do you use one can a week or two?  When canning green beans you usually use quart jars because pints are too small.  So for a family of four a quart will feed you pretty well with some leftovers.  With a family of 6 (with small children), a quart will work but you probably won't have much left over. 
  • Now, saying that you eat one quart a week, you will want to figure how many weeks you will eat green beans when they are not in season.  Green bean season usually runs from mid-June to August in the midwest so you will want to have one quart of green beans for about 8 months which equals 32 weeks which equals 32 quarts.
  • Although, I would recommend canning a few more as you may want them for when you have guests and such.  Green beans usually come in bushels or half bushels.  Half bushels are about the size of a full 5 gallon bucket.   I have found that a 5 gallon bucket full of green beans will yield you 18 quarts of green beans.
  • So, if you want around 32 quarts to last you about a year - then you would need to can a bushel of green beans.  
Now onto corn:
  • I don't can corn, but I do freeze it.  Our family eats corn more frequently.  We eat about 1 bag of it a week and we put corn on the cob on the grill in the summer.  I put 4 cups of corn into each quart size freezer bag.  If you do eat a bag a week for approximately 40 weeks (when corn is not in season), then you would need 40 quart size bags for a family of 4-6.  If you think you will eat it on the cob in the summer (or any other time) then figure a cob each for each family member for about 10 weeks which would make 40-60 cobs.
  • Let's recap, for a family of 4-6, you would want 40 quart size bags of corn and 40 cobs.  You would want 3 dozen just for the cobs and then you would want another 15 dozen to make your 40 quart size bags.  These are approximate.  It could yield you a little more or less, but it is about the right amount.  If you get this much corn you can definitely negotiate a cheaper price per dozen.  I paid $2 per dozen last year (according to my notes).

For 100 lbs. of peaches (that my friend and I did last year) we got 23 quarts, 26 pints and 10 lbs. frozen in quart size bags.  If you wanted to eat peaches once or twice a week and have some for smoothies then I would recommend you freeze or can 50 lbs. to last you most of the year when peaches are not in season.  You can see my tips for how to freeze them here.

As far as berries go I find I never have enough.  I know it is a little late now to buy strawberries in season but you can still get blueberries in some places.  I just buy as much as I can to use in smoothies and to make jams and other things.  We like to buy strawberries and blueberries in bulk and freeze them.

From Ace Hardware

I bought this canning chart magnet to keep on my fridge so I can tell approximately how much I will need and how much it will yield.

More resources:

How about you?  What tips do you have to calculate how much to can or freeze for your family to last you until the fruits or vegetables are in season again?

Raising Homemakerstammy's recipes


  1. Thank you for this post! I'm just starting to learn to can, and was wondering how much I would need.

  2. Great post!
    I've been shocked at how fast my family can go through food storage!
    Your cans and corn look great!

  3. Fantastic and very informative post!

    I just "put up" 50 pounds of blueberries - 47 jars of jam and the rest in the freezer. =)

    I also "put up" 40 pounds of strawberries. =)

    Next ... peaches!

  4. Great post thank you. I've canned before but never tried to have "enough" for the lean months. This is the first year I'm attempting that. We have 6 kids at home, one away, so that's a LOT of canning!

  5. @Donna
    Thank you! I learn A LOT from your blog. I love your once a month shopping posts and all your recipes.

  6. @Kim
    It is a lot of canning, but it is so worth it!

  7. Wow ... that's amazing... I just found your blog...and LOVE it ... I have been afraid to try canning as I am afraid I would mess it up and give my fam some kinda illness...where did you learn to can from ? and do you think that you save a lot of money by canning, and where do you buy your bulk foods ? thanks ! have a great weekend and thanks for your inspiration !

  8. I so agree with how you estimate how much to can or freeze. This year I figured we would need 32 quarts of green beans and I stopped canning at 32 quarts, even though my plants are still producing. We have had a fantastic yield this year and all extras are shared with others or fed to the chickens.

  9. Inviting you the Carnival of Home Preserving on my blog today and every Friday. Hope to see you there. Laura Williams’ Musings http://laurawilliamsmusings.blogspot.com

  10. I know this is an old post, but I came across it through Google while looking for an answer on how many jars per pound of green beans.

    I am confused through...how accurate do you find that chart to be? You said you find that 1/2 bushel yields about 18 qt jars, the chart says 1 bushel yields 10-20. This is quite a variance!

    I ordered up 100 lbs of green beans from a local farm. That's the difference between 120 jars and 30-60 jars.

    Was 18 a typo? Thanks : )

  11. @Anonymous
    I would say that 1 quart jar holds about 1/2 lb. of green beans if you really pack them in there. You will probably need between 40-50 quart jars. Honestly though it is usually trial and error because everyone packs them differently.


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