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Low Cost Canning in the US
Think that Canning is "Out of Date"?
I hear so many people my age saying that canning to put away food is "out of date" or old school. I am also told it is a waste of time. I find it hard to believe that people really think that prepackaged foods will always be on the shelves at the stores. If things get as bad as they are predicting you will be lucking to find a can of sardines!
The Ball Blue Book is the best guide to use to learn how to can food at home. Many things can be canned in a Boiling Water Bath, which is simply the jars being placed in a stock pot with a rack in it for a certain amount of time to seal the jars properly. You do not have to have a pot that says it is specifically made for canning. Almost any stock pot will do. However jars must be made specifically for canning and they should be cared for as to help them last for years. Jars can be reused as long as they are well tended. So a stock of replacement lids should be kept on hand or you can look into the new lids that can be reused. However with these I believe you must have replacement rings. Unfortunately I have no experience with any of the reusable lids so I can not give a review. Nor can I recall their name.
With the BWB method you can can tomatoes, tomato sauces, fruits, syrups, jellies, pie fillings, and many more items. The Ball Blue Book is available on Amazon as well as in local stores in the summer. In some areas canning supplies are available all year round. If you decide to give this a try be sure to know when you will be able to get the needed items. I recommend you try your local thrift shops and freecycle.
To date I have canned homemade applejuice, syrup, and apple wedges. Our kids liked the syrup so much its already gone so in the future I will have to make more and hide some for future use. Here is the recipe I used:
- 3 watermelons, juiced
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 package sugar-free raspberry jello mix
Bring all to a boil and cook down to desired consistency. Pour into hot jars, cap, aply rings and BWB for 10 minutes. Remove from water bath carefully and set on a towle to cool. Once cooled test the seal, label, and store.
I want to take a moment and say that if you can get a presure canner DO! You can use one of these to can meat, vegetables, and some pre-made meals. This will come in handy in this uncertain future as sometimes you may be unable to or too tired to cook a meal. With the meals that can be canned ready to eat you would be able to pull a jar out of storage and eat. If you get a PC be sure to also stock up on spare parts. Who knows how much longer they will be available.
The Ball Blue Book also has information and recipes for use with the Pressure Canner. The USDA has a website with a lot of information as well and there are many groups that address food preservation, preparedness and food storage on yahoo. I highly recommend you find one you like and join!