Canning. A topic that is near and dear to my heart. I am so very close to being done with this season’s round of canning: just 400 pounds of tuna and a few more pints of tomatoes to go. I have been working on this for nearly two months now. I love canning, but I am so looking forward to sitting back and enjoying my home-canned bounty. Mmm. Mmm.
I believe home canning to be an essential part of my nutritional lifestyle. It keeps me connected to my homesteading background and connected to where my food comes from. I can food I grow, food my family grows, and food from local farmers and fisherman. There really is nothing more satisfying for me than to see my food go from the land to my table (especially when the whole process is by my own hand). My child is too young now (although he does point to the stove and say “cook”), but this is a skill that I fully intend to pass on to all my children because I believe that this is an essential skill and brings a smile to so many faces; particularly when sharing.
I get very excited when people ask me questions about canning. I think everyone should know how to do this. It is truly not all that complicated, and once you do it, is no longer intimidating. I know some people have a tremendous fear of pressure canning because of possible explosion (which is highly unlikely), but you can start off doing foods that require only boiling-water bath to cut back on the fear. I tend to do very large batches of whatever I am canning to get me through to the next season, but a person can do small batches just to have a little fun. Think pickled mixed veggies, mango salsa, and jams. You can really do small batches of anything, but those would be the most fun.
Home canning can also be fairly inexpensive. You can find supplies at the local Bi-Mart, on Craig’s List, and even re-sale shops. There is really no need to buy brand new jars because they last FOREVER. Just make sure you have no chips or cracks and you are good to go.
Right now is a pretty good time to try your hand at some home canning as the growing season is ending and you may find produce at lower prices. I recommend getting your hands on Putting Food By. This is my canning Bible. I learned to can from my grandmother and mother, but I’m on my own now so I need a reference once in a while! This book is chock full of information and great recipes.
By trying out new recipes, you are opening yourself up to a wider range of nutritious foods that you might not otherwise eat. Having canned goods in the pantry inspires us to try new meals rather than stick with our regular weekly menu. Canning is a great activity for kids, too and you can very easily turn it into a lesson in nutrition without them even knowing 🙂
Share your questions. I have many lessons that I have learned the hard way and would be happy to share. I love canning many different things, but have a very severe hatred of applesauce…8 hours of work for 7 pints of applesauce. I may or may not have flung applesauce across the room that day. Also, share your experiences. I still have a lot of learning to do as well.
I hope this post has inspired someone to venture out into the wide world of home canning! Here’s to summer’s goodness all winter long!
- We’re Cooking: Red and Green Hot Pepper Jelly
- October Unprocessed: Applesauce (an alternative to my opinion of applesauce)
- One Saturday In September
- Canners Offer to Preserve Neighbors’ Fruit