I’m putting my energy into cold frames. I have an experimental head of lettuce under a old plastic refrigerator drawer, that still tastes fine in March. It has survived single digit cold, snow, wind all winter. I wish I had a covered garden bed, full of lettuce, cabbage, kale, chard, beets, carrots, and celery. Maybe next winter. Keeping my vegetables in the ground has my vote.
My favorite for veg is usually fermentation (less work, more alive with healthy bacteria), although I do vinegar pickling and water bath canning as well. For fruit I usually make preserves and water bath can them. Meat is smoked—canned meat kind of puts me off. I freeze lots of stuff, too, particularly fish. I don’t pressure can because it just doesn’t seem worth it for the expense and trouble, but we’re subtropical and have a long growing season.
Let me explore how many methods I'm using. To tell you the truth, I never looked at this before.
... Drying. I dry quite a variety. Turmeric, macadamia nuts, tomatoes, peppers, squash, assorted greens, assorted herbs, pineapple, banana, beans, peas, corn, fish.
... Root cellaring (I don't have an actual root cellar. Instead, I store the veggies right in the ground because I don't have freezing to worry about.) Sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, daikon, carrots, turmeric.
... Pickling. Pipinola, kohlrabi, turnip, radish, cabbage, beets, beans.
... Smoking. Some meats, mainly pork.
... Canning. Fruits in the form of preserves and syrups. Honey.
... Freezing. Just about everything.
I don't actually need to store much excess. Just some abundance here and there, and mostly seasonal crops.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
I often end up preserving stuff that people give me or that I didn’t know what to do with in the first place, like the gallons of frozen and pickled habaneros my godfather grew this year...of which I have used three. Or approximately 4,000 radishes every year because my dad plants an entire row of the foolproof little suckers, and we use maybe a dozen.
His brain is the size of a cherry pit! About the size of this ad: