Save money off your food budget; Start Canning!

Before refrigerators and freezers became an everyday household item, it was a way of life to CAN foods at the height of their season. As we're getting more aware of the chemical infestations and of the many biologically altered foods, more and more people are trying to return to a safer natural lifestyle.

Reasons to CAN and preserve:

  • Save money - canning is done when the food is at its best, right from tree or garden, at the height of the season. The produce etc. is plentiful, therefore, cheap especially if bought in bulk or home grown.
  • No unwanted additives - the only things going into the jars is what you put into them. You don't need to add artificial preservatives, or food colors, or spices etc.
  • Save time prepping meals- this is a busy and full of hustle life style that most of us are leading. Having home-canned foods in the pantry will cut down in the planning and meal cooking time. No time wasted for food to un-thaw, no need to peel veggies etc.
  • Gift giving- while there are home-canned jars in your pantry you always have that special gift for family and friends on hand.

Home-Canning is not hard. Like with everything there are a few rules to remember. Rule # 1 and the foremost important, on which all other rules rely is DO NOT TAKE SHORTCUTS WHEN HOME CANNING. This means do not use inferior product when canning. Canning preserves food but does not enhance the flavour or color. So what your canning is what you will have as end-product. (If you start out with shrivelled up fruit that's what you will have in your jars etc.) Do not cut the time short when processing jars, and have the right equipment for the type of preserving you're planning on.

Warning:it's natural for food to spoil when not processed in one way or another. With proper canning procedures the freshness, flavour and color can be kept at a maximum.

Spoiling agents: - Molds, bacteria, and yeast are the main spoilers to watch out for. As mentioned before with proper care these can all be eliminated.

  • MOLD - any foreign substances in your jars can cause fuzzy mold. i.e. crumbs, unclean jars etc
  • BACTERIA - likes low acid food which include most vegetables and meats. A rule of thumb, when bacteria has invaded foods, it becomes slimy and has an unpleasant odor and flavor. Bacteria is also the cause of food poisoning. The toxins can cause botulism.
  • YEAST - causes foods to ferment and thus spoil.

Rules:

  • Only use the finest quality foods. Fruit and vegetables should feel fresh and firm. Smell and look ripe, with good color and no blemishes.
  • Wash food thoroughly. Not only does dirt carry the spoiling bacteria but it also is very unpleasant to have grit between your teeth.
  • Do not soak fruit or vegetables as this will soak out the flavours etc.
  • Handle fruit and vegetables carefully so not to bruise or break the skin. Which again could introduce the spoiling bacteria etc.
  • Have working area, canning equipment and jars with lids clean and ready.
  • All jars and lids should be perfect. Jars without nicks or cracks. Lids should be soaked in boiling water for some time before placing onto jars to soften-up the sealing compound.
  • Obtain reputable recipe book and follow the recipes, it's imperative that all steps are followed exactly. The accurate time and temperature of hot water bath or pressure canners will make the difference of good food prepared well, that can be enjoyed with pride or food that is only good for the garbage and that can endanger your families health.
  • Leave enough head space in jars, don't over-stuff, as produce in jars will expand when being heat processed.
  • Remove air bubbles from around food in jars, air left will again endanger foods with bacteria.
  • Clean mouth of jar before 'lid-ing' to ensure a proper seal all around.
  • Tighten rings firmly, this will push the sealing compound tightly against jar mouth thus assuring a good airtight seal.
  • Before moving jars into pantry make sure jars are vacuum sealed. A jar that is properly sealed is slightly con-caved into the jar which will happen during the cooling period. (you will hear a low pop)

Needed equipment -

  • PRESSURE CANNER - with dial gauge is the most important equipment needed for low acid foods (this is the most expensive investment but will last for many, many years)Read all instruction on this pot because it has a few different tricks to it.
  • HOT WATER CANNER - for high acid foods has to be deep enough to accommodate canning jar height placed on a bottom rack an inch off the floor of pot plus an inch or two of water covering the jars. (these can be bought fairly inexpensively)
  • MASON JARS - these come in many different sizes and shapes (wide-mouth, plain or deco sided etc). Small, 1/2 pint, for jellies and jams, medium, 1 pint size are good for fruit conserves, salsa, salmon, etc., large 1 quart size is best for multiple portion meals such as meats also small pickles whole or sliced, X-large, 1/2 gallon, great for bigger whole pickles and large family size soups etc. Always make sure you have enough jars on hand for the.
  • LIDS and RINGS - these come in all the standard sizes. Rings are not needed to stay on jars once the seals are complete. However it doesn't harm to leave on either.
  • SPOONS - long handled, slotted, ladle
  • KNIFES - large for chopping, parring, and vegetable peeler
  • MEASURING - cups, spoons and scales
  • TONGS and JAR LIFTER
  • JAR FUNNEL
  • SPATULA - non-metallic
  • COLANDER or STRAINER
  • TIMER

For first time "Canners" I suggest canning 'high-acid' foods first. Apple sauce is always a great start or apple butter. ( most canning books will have recipes for both these items). Always remember that processing methods and and times are as different as the foods are different. Today all treatments and methods have been scientifically experimented with and by following a reputable canning book, preserving is a safe and great way to save money on food, and can become a great hobby.

My one and only all time favorite CANNING book was published in 1991 by the BALL CORPORATION (32 edition) By doing this article I discovered that Ball doesn't own the home-canning side of the business anymore but has sold the rights to http://www.freshpreserving.com/ . I like their site with a free e-newsletter full of recipes, craft ideas and information.

Other great sites I like are http://www.homecanning.com/ and http://www.canning-food-recipes.com/

Another site which is mainly reading material For Your Information only 'Home-Canning How to avoid Botulism' www.bchealthguide.org/healthfiles/hfile22.stm

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Comments 19 comments

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 4 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Hiya tlpoague, how are you? Glad you dropped in for a visit. I absolutely love the whole process of canning. It is so rewarding when the shelves fill with the beautiful jars.

regards Zsuzsy


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 4 years ago from USA

Great information. I think canning is making a comeback. I remember a time when hardly anyone was canning. I am not big on using a pressure cooker, so I leave that job to my hubby. I learned to can a long time ago from my grandmother and mother. It is a helpful to know. Thanks!


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 5 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

lael8, thers is nothing better than a thick slice of fresh bread covered with home made jam. And there really is nothing more rewarding then when I walk into my full larder at the end of the growing and canning season.

happy canning

regards Zsuzsy


lael8 profile image

lael8 5 years ago from Rapid City, SD

Very informative! I have been toying around with the idea of canning...Next year...But this year I did can some strawberry jam...It wasn't too bad for my first attempt! :)


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 5 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

crystolite, thanks for stopping by and commenting

regards Zsuzsy


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Wonderful information which i think every body need to have a little knowledge of this information.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Oliversmum! Very little impresses me more then seeing the shelves in my larder full. Satisfaction guaranteed. I also enjoy the actual canning process too.

thanks for coming for a visit

hope you're well

kindest regards Zsuzsy


oliversmum profile image

oliversmum 6 years ago from australia

Zsuzsy Bee. Hi. What great information and advice. To preserve your own home grown fruit and vege, knowing that they are free from pestacides. is a wonderful idea, with a little care and attention it does not sound too hard. Thank you ever so much, I am going to try it. :) :)


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Foodstorage! I still can all that I can grow. I love that because I know what I have in my jars 'from ground up' so to speak.

Thanks for stopping by regards Zsuzsy


foodstorage profile image

foodstorage 8 years ago from Utah

I can everything I'm able to from my vegetable garden. And I try to pick up free or cheap fruit each year. There is usually SOMEONE out there with extra who is trying to get rid of it. Thanks for the great info. I still feel like a beginner at canning so this is really helpful to me :)


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Rochelle! I just love canning. As a single parent I had to do what ever I could. Now it's just become a habit. Mind you I could probably survive quite a while on what is in my larder and freezer now. I grow produce in the garden and jar or freeze most of it for four households (mine and my 3 children's).

I'd be interested in the bean and jalapeno recipe.Sounds really great and that is something I haven't made yet I also have quite a few bean plants still producing...

Thanks for dropping in regards Zsuzsy


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

A great review of canning technique. When I was much younger I canned a lot of tomatoes (easy) with my mom's advice.

 I helped my mother-in-law can dill pickles which were really great.

 I have made jams-- this season or plum tree went into overdrive! My son learned how to can pickled jalapeno green beans-- spicy hot, but a delicious accent to many meals.

 Yes they do make good gifts-- not terribly expensive, yet people appreciate the effort. And they are so good!

Everyone needs to know basics-- It may become  necessary sometime.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

I just made stuffed pickled red peppers. These will be a perfect delicatessen for our Christmas dinner.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Pickles, jam, fruit, meat, fish, anything that you can buy in a can, can be canned at home. (that's quite the sentence )

thanks for taking a look

regards Zsuzsy


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 9 years ago from Chennai

This is great! Didn't know this could be done at home. We only store pickles here.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Bon Jour AylaFrance! Merci!

I would love to have your recipe for 'bottling' duck. I've never done it, but I'll try anything once. How long will it stay good for? When I lived in British Columbia (the other side of Canada from where I live now) I used to buy whole salmon and process them. When we moved back to Ontario I had 48/pint(500ml) jars after a while they became like a delicatessen, only for special occassions, to my whole family. The salmon was good for almost two years. Will duck stay good for that long too or will it become rancid from the fat? Would a root cellar be cold enough? Then ones you open your jar, how do you serve it? Please let me know or better yet why don't you put a HUB together and share it with all of us...I'd love to hear from you...

Thanks

regards Zsuzsy


aylafrance 9 years ago

I do can every year - we call it bottling here as we also can can in metal cans.

The main product is Confit of Duck - the local delicacy, cooked and sealed in duck fat but not at all fatty when eaten.

I tend to make sure that there are tomatoes with all vegetable dishes. I have canned meat but I no longer do this as I live at a very high altitude and this does make a difference in time and temperature. Port was the only thing that ever spoiled.

We are still eating 2005 mixed vegetables. We did a lot of fruit this year as the vegetable harvest was washed out literally by a really bad summer. The soft fruit and apples/pears were growing all along the roads so we collected as much as we could and bottled and made conserve. One way to ensure that we have a good supply of food high in vitamins in the winter.

I live in very very rural France. Di


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

I can honestly say that I look forward to the canning and freezing season every year. Canning is something that our great grandmothers and theirs before them did and people have lived to tell the tale without all this interference from science etc. It was second nature to Gramma but I guess we just need to be more informed in this complicated life.....

thanks regards Zsuzsy


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

Great info and something people need to know, thanks.

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