With the rising cost of food everyone is looking for alternative ways to save money on healthy foods. One of my favorite things to do is can & preserve my own food. At first, canning requires a lot of up front costs (if buying everything new), but in the end it save you and your family money. Plus, these items will last you a lifetime.
I admit that canning is more of a hobby for me. Over this past summer, I purchase over 15 lbs of tomatoes from a local organic farmers for just $4 (they were starting to turn). That turned into 17 pint size jars of homemade spaghetti sauce. With the extra ingredients (onion, garlic & spices already on hand), I figure each jar filled cost me roughly $0.30 each, plus my time to make. Sometimes I wonder if I was born in the wrong era.
Canning is really one step beyond cooking. It is a method that applies heating food in a closed glass home canning jars to stop the natural spoilage that would otherwise take place, and removes air from the jar to create a seal. I am not going to be able to go over the types of canning methods, but the benefits.
The Benefits of Home Canning:
- Nutrition-No preservatives & chemicals, No High Fructose Corn Syrup (if your making jam or jelly)
- Pride in Preserving your own food (straight from your garden) or when you find stock up prices on produce.
- Saving Money
- Healthy for the environment (it reduces the cost and waste associated with pre-packed foods at the grocery store)
With all these benefits, it is no wonder why more & more people are learning how to can their own food at home. I starting canning in college. I am my mother’s daughter and cook just like her (to feed an army).
NEW to Home Canning
At first it can seem a bit overwhelming from the process of canning to the items you will need to get the ball rolling.
Please take the time to purchase The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. This is the holy grail to canning. I don’t know where I would be without it. I refer to this book often. It comes with canning instructions and many many recipes. You will also need the following items:
- Canning jars with two-part lids—a flat lid with a rubberized gasket and a ring to hold it in place.
- Pressure Cooker or Stock Pot – depending on canning method (Please note that only a select number of food items can be canned using the water boiling method – The water bath canner is great for fruits and high acid foods.)
- Canning tongs for lifting jars out of the boiling water
- Canning rack to raise jars off the bottom of the pot – Some kits or pressure cookers come with this
- Wide-mouth funnel to make filling jars easy
- Magnetic lid lifter, an optional tool for grabbing lids from the hot water
Many people think that you only can food through one season, but let me assure you—canning is a year-round money-saver. It is easier then you think and well worth the investment.