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Canning: The Simple Harvest

Updated on April 2, 2013
Quick Canning Made Easy
Quick Canning Made Easy | Source
Source

Most backyard gardeners have to limit what they grow to vegetable and fruits that will fit adequately in their allotted space. A small vegetable garden can produce a large amount of food, but in reality, most of the crops will not ripen at the same time; this can leave a canner in quite a dilemma.

Canning is an excellent way to preserve the harvest which your hands have grown. If you have limited space in the freezer, it is a terrific option for keeping food fresh and ready to use. Plus, you have complete control over how the food was grown and processed. Using glass canning jars provides a safe, BPA-free environment for food; the jars, with care will last a lifetime. But, let’s be honest, there is a lot of equipment that goes along with canning. Pulling out all of it just for a handful of vegetables can be a daunting task.

A small batch of tomatoes from the garden.
A small batch of tomatoes from the garden. | Source

Processing Small Batches

Of course there is always the possibility of freezing which will eliminate the necessity for the canning equipment, but, it will take up valuable space that you may need for other items that must be frozen. An easy way to small batch can is to keep one to three jars, with lids and rings, some place that can be easily accessible. Also, keep the smaller canning items, such as the bubble remover, funnel, jar lifter, and lid wand, in a kitchen drawer for immediate use.

You do not want to pull out the large water bath canner for one or two jars; it uses a lot of water and you never want to waste such a precious commodity. Simply select a pot that will hold the number of jars you are processing and that allows for two inches of water covering the lids. You can put a dish towel on the bottom of the pot for safe boiling. If you are processing meat or low-acid food, you must take out the pressure canner. There is no other safe method for such items.

When processing such items as tomatoes or pickles, one bottle of condensed spices is better than ten different containers of each herb needed. Ball Canning Company has a fantastic selection of one bottle canning mixes; they are a time and space saver, well worth the purchase. You will need to adjust the amount of spices to fit your reduced batch.

It is possible to "can as you grow." Small batch canning once or twice a week will keep your produce preserved.
It is possible to "can as you grow." Small batch canning once or twice a week will keep your produce preserved. | Source

Small Batch Canning

About the Author

Catherine Dean is a freelance writer, gardener, quilter, and blogger. Her professional background includes nonprofit program development, grant writing, and volunteer management. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Georgia College & State University.

Her blog, Sowing A Simple Harvest, chronicles a modern couple trying to live a simplistic, sustainable life. To explore Catherine's professional credentials, visit her website. She can also be followed on Google+.

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    • mvillecat profile image
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      Catherine Dean 4 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      You should! It is so easy and proves to be better for your health due to the BPA threats. There are so many resources on the internet today on canning. Good luck! Thanks for voting and commenting.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

      Voted up mvillecat! I'd love to learn bottling tomatoes; so I don't have to buy them from stores.

    • mvillecat profile image
      Author

      Catherine Dean 4 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      Thanks for commenting! Yes, it is a great way to preserve food.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Certainly an interesting and useful thing to do. Canning for saving the fresh produce when one has an over supply, is surely welcome.

      Voted up.

    • mvillecat profile image
      Author

      Catherine Dean 5 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      Indeed! Thanks for commenting Fiddleman. I am currently growing my fall garden and hope to continue to can throughout the winter.

    • mvillecat profile image
      Author

      Catherine Dean 5 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      Thanks so much Au fait! Yes, it is great that you can have food when the electricity goes out. Our home is so small and our freezer is small too. That is the main reason I can instead of freeze. Thanks for commenting and sharing.

    • profile image

      Fiddleman 5 years ago

      Super!! We eat all we can and can all we can't. Great hub

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 5 years ago from North Texas

      I have an aunt who used to can just a few jars of vegetables or fruits a day. My own mother had a huge garden, a couple of acres easily, so there was always plenty of work in the summer.

      Freezing is good and many vegetables are better frozen, but canning has the advantage (IMO) of not having to worry if the electricity goes off for long periods of time. Not having to have expensive special equipment (freezer) to store the finished products.

      Great hub and I noticed you have several more that look interesting too! Voted up and useful. Will share with my followers.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Okay, thank you so much for the information!

    • mvillecat profile image
      Author

      Catherine Dean 5 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      Right. Low acid food has to be canned by a pressure canner because water bath canning cannot get high enough in degrees to kill bacteria. High acid food kills bacteria after boiling. The Ball Canning Company is the recognized expert and they have many videos on Youtube. Check them out and start canning!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Canning has always fascinated me. If you are canning low acid food, is it always safe when canned with a pressure cooker? No chance of botulism? I wondered because I was reading about it online and it seemed no one wants to guarantee safe results.

    • mvillecat profile image
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      Catherine Dean 5 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      Well hey, you've done something I have not done! I love buying those jarred cheeses in oil at the store. Yum! Thanks for commenting.

    • Letitialicious profile image

      Letitialicious 5 years ago from Paris via San Diego

      How useful, especially the advice on making small batches, would would be my case. I wish I'd read this before vacationing in the country with lots of fabulous, cheap produce around (I live in the city and can't grow my own, unfortunately). At least I jarred some goat cheese in oil!

    • mvillecat profile image
      Author

      Catherine Dean 5 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      Thanks J.S.! I hope you do have success at your new place. I am so addicted to it now. Thanks for commenting and sharing.

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I have tried unsuccessfully in the past to grow a garden but where I live I don't get enough sunlight. The good news is that I may be moving in a few months and so next year I can try again! If I am successful I will be canning much of the produce. I also want to try to make jellies and jams. Great Hub! Up and shared.

      JSMatthew~

    • mvillecat profile image
      Author

      Catherine Dean 5 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      How wonderful! Please start and we can share our experiences!

    • FrugalFatCouple profile image

      FrugalFatCouple 5 years ago from California

      Catherine, thank you for finding us! My 86 year old mother STILL CANS!! It is an Art! I want to start canning too. I'm so glad to find your hubs - they are fantastic!

    • mvillecat profile image
      Author

      Catherine Dean 5 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      Thanks so much! I have had to supplement my homegrown with produce I purchased at local farms. I just love. I hope you do pick it back up.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 5 years ago from United States

      I haven't canned in a few years since the shade in our yard made it impossible to grow tomatoes anymore, but you are inspiring me to maybe start up again. Great pictures! Voted up and pinned.

    • mvillecat profile image
      Author

      Catherine Dean 5 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      Sounds great, I will. I make homemade bread myself. Thanks for stopping by!

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

      You might want to have a look at my all-ll purpose batter bread recipe. It's a good, from scratch recipe that can be adapted to make bread, herb bread, cinnamon/raisin bread and corn bread. It's very simple and probably less expensive than buying a mix. Also, it only has the ingredients you put in (no dreadful chemicals!)

    • mvillecat profile image
      Author

      Catherine Dean 5 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      Thank you! Indeed, prices are going up. I have bought enough cornbread mix and flour to last me through winter due to the drought. I coupon and stockpile sales...not as bad as the women on TV though. Thanks for stopping by.

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

      Great ideas! With food prices rising by the minute, we will all do well to plant our own victory gardens and preserve our own foods! Voted up and useful! :)

    • mvillecat profile image
      Author

      Catherine Dean 5 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      Thanks so much sgbrown! I am trying to have a large garden but the heat and humidity has taken its toll on us down in Georgia as I know it has on you guys in Ok. Thanks for stopping by!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Very useful suggestions for someone who has a rather small garden. We love to can. We have a larger garden and when it starts putting on veggies, we are canning every day! Voted this up and useful! Have a wonderful day! :)