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Pantry Pride: 1941

November 1941. "Mrs. Buck Grant, Farm Security Administration client, with her canned goods. Near Woodville, Georgia." Photo by Jack Delano. View full size.

November 1941. "Mrs. Buck Grant, Farm Security Administration client, with her canned goods. Near Woodville, Georgia." Photo by Jack Delano. View full size.


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Today’s Top 5

Canning vs dry

Some folks might say that canning the beans helps retain more of the freshness, flavor and nutrients. And the canned beans are indeed more convenient since the beans are basically cooked in the canning process.

Dry butter beans would be available in the fall, some to be used for cooking, and some as seeds for next year's planting.

Nowadays, I store them fresh frozen from the garden!

A Thing of Beauty

I would be proud too!
I have a question for the experienced canners : why can butter beans? It seems like the dried version would last just as long or longer?

14 mouths to feed

According to census records, in 1910 Mr. and Mrs. Grant had been married a year and had no children. The 1940 Census shows they were parents to eight girls and four boys.

Top Shelf

I'm gonna go with okra on the top shelf.
Best guess below that is turnips (purple top white globes).
Middle shelf on the left might be plain cabbage, with butter beans (Henderson's?) on the right.
Fourth shelf down pickles, of course, with beets(?) on the right near her hand.
Bottom shelf looks like more turnips.

And that is how you survived the Great Depression.

What canned goods are missing and probably in another pantry? (Definitely string beans! Probably some collards or mustard greens.)

I made this

If I can read the lady's face, the expression seems to show her pleasure from having worked hard to produce a thing of value.


A nice supply of goodies. And such large jars.

That brings back memories

We had a walk-in pantry in our basement filled with shelves of canned vegetables and fruit in canning jars from our garden. My mother worked non-stop from summer to fall making sure that had enough food for winter and spring.


I must say how much I am adoring these canning photos. The people who did the work are justifiably proud. Some of the jars are both fascinating and beautiful, such as the pickles on the left, second from the bottom. I wish someone would do the ID on all the contents, as the trusty Shorpy commenters do with trains and cars.

Impressive inventory

The investment in jars and lids looks substantial, but it should pay off by providing sustenance for this family through the winter.

A winning smile

She seems to be suppressing a very cute and winning smile. Wow ... think about all the work that went into the bounty in that cupboard!

Justifiably proud!

So many big jars! I'd smile like that, too, seeing the volume and variety of things she's canned, or, as we used to say, "put up". I spent summers in the late '60s with my grandparents in East Texas, and I would help my grandmother can vegetables in her kitchen, and sit in her backyard to string green beans and shell peas and butter beans from her large garden. Things that needed to stay frozen, like corn, were carried to the local locker plant, that was owned by our cousins.

Those were the days

When prepping was a necessity and a way of life, not an urbanite affectation.

The Bare Necessities

Looks like Mrs. Grant is well prepared for the winter and should be proud of her "stash" of canned fruits, veggies, and pickles. At that time, living in the country with little other way to preserve the harvest, canning was more of a necessity than a hobby. That cupboard of jars represents a lot of hot, hard work.

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