“Save for the Zombie Apocalypse” Is the New “Save for Retirement”

Retirement is so far away, and who knows what the world will look like then, and maybe we’ll all have flying DeLoreans that run on garbage. How can we really prepare for that? A zombie apocalypse, on the other hand, is easy to anticipate. We’ll need baseball bats, guns, and a neighborhood pub in which to host a final showdown. We’ll also need canned food. Lots and lots of canned food.

When I was first starting out, I’d put up a few jars each summer. And I relied on just three recipes: my great-grand-mother’s raspberry jam, my mother’s mango chutney and also her heavenly sweet pickle relish. Preserving these foods needed no special equipment and only a few minutes in boiling water to process. Water bath canning is the most common preserving method for high acid (low pH) foods like jam and pickles.

The filled, lidded jars are submerged in boiling water. When the contents reach 212 Fahrenheit, the pressure in the jar equalizes and air is expressed under the lid and a seal is formed, punctuated by a satisfying “ping.”

A quick tally of the grocery store canned tomatoes I used in just one week moved me to add crushed tomatoes to my canning regimen. With some experience under my belt, I began processing 300 pounds of tomatoes for ketchup, salsa, juice and soup, and boatloads of those everyday jars of crushed tomatoes each summer. Tomatoes might be the gateway vegetable to canning’s crazytown, but they are also the most practical jar on the shelf.

Anyone hardcore into pickling and preserving wanna regale us with stories of how much it costs to prepare for the End of Days? Or, perhaps, just winter?

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