It’s canning season!Well, truth be told–any time of the year is ‘canning season’~depending on what you choose to can!Really, food preservation is an ongoing thing here at our little homestead, whether it’s by way of canning, freezing, or dehydrating!Preserving the harvest is an economical, healthful, wonderful way to have a supply of good foods on hand for anytime, and is especially helpful during those extra frugal times.
I just get “canning fever” around this time of year, I love to can! Maybe it’s those pretty glass jars all packed up with the seasons bounty? Maybe it’s knowing that I am caring for my family by feeding them the best, healthful way possible by preserving the freshest foods available? Probably BOTH! 🙂
I so enjoy canning and preserving food for my family, I like seeing that pantry stocked up and the freezer full.Canning and preserving is really quite simple.There are tons of resources available to us to teach us, if we don’t have an ‘older’ Titus 2 woman in our lives to teach and share with us.
Some of my ‘staples’, if you will , for canning? Get yourself a “Ball Blue Book” it’s available online, or at any store that carries canning equipment, it’s your ‘bible of canning and preserving’. This will be used time and time again, and ranges between $4.00 and $5.00, on average.
Supplies, well…you’ll be needing canning jars, whatever size best suits your family’s needs.We use a variety, depending on what it is we’re canning.(On occasion you can find jars at garage sales, these can be great deals…just be sure to inspect for chips, or cracks ~ can’t have that-you will not get a safe seal!). I always save my ‘rings’ or buy new when needed, but the lids…those must be used ONCE and tossed, use new everytime!(I’ve heard of folks reusing the lids, but it’s not worth the safety risk, they are cheap, and are one of the ‘keys’ to safe canning!). It’s nice to have a pair of canning tongs aka ‘jar lifters’, but they aren’t a ‘must have’.A canning funnel, I personally think this is a must have, it makes some canning jobs much less messy (and saves more than a few burnt hands and fingers). A good stack of old washcloths and potholders are a must as well.A water bath canner (a glorified stock pot, lid and jar rack) is something that can be had at a garage sale on the cheap!They can be found nice, new and relatively cheap at a discount retailer such as a (gasp) Walmart, or online.A pressure canner, this one, I’d personally stick to new.You want to make sure it’s in perfect working order when working under pressure, in my opinion.I know, I know…lots of old timers use ONLY a water bath canner for EVERYTHING they can.I don’t believe the risk is worth it, always refer to your “Ball Blue Book” or a good (reliable) recipe.When I canned my first batch of apricots, I got by with my (garage sale) water bath canner, jars, rings, lids, tons of washcloths, potholders and my goodol ‘ “BallBlue Book”.It’s relatively cheap to get started, really.
So, you’re ready….what are you going to can? We are truly blessed living in the Northwest, as we have a variety of delicious fresh fruit every summer/fall to choose from.Berries, apples, peaches, pears, apricots…not to mention fresh veggies!We have tons of orchards nearby, so we can go pick ourselves and this makes for a fun family adventure and saves money!If you have a family member or friend with apple trees and the apples just end up on the ground—why not ask to pick them (I would always make sure of any spraying or pesticides being used first) if your family loves applesauce, or even better (mmm) apple pie filling!Free is always good as it makes canning even more economical!! I try and stick to the favorites of our family.Pears are one, we went through literally hundreds of pounds of pears last fall and were out by January!I could of canned many more!We love pears. JApricots? Well, my husband is the only true apricot lover in the family , so I don’t can nearly as many of those as I do pears…and we still have many jars left from last summer.Can what you know you will truly use, that will be eaten and enjoyed! The advantages of canning go beyond getting to enjoy your favorite fruits (and veggies) all year round. You can also can just about anything, eggs, meats, full meals–such a convenience! I also like the fact that I KNOW what I am feeding my family.I know how the beans are grown, how much salt (if any) I put in. I know what I put into cooking that chilli!I like knowing that when my girls want to enjoy a quart (YES, a quart!) of pears…they aren’t eating pesticides and sugar water along with the fruit. You control what your family eats, and it’s a responsibility not to be taken lightly.I rarely use sugar at all when canning fruit.Don’t need to.The fruit, in it’s natural state has it’s own God given sweetness!Want to ‘spice up’ your pears a bit? Try adding one (or to your liking) red hot candy to the jar right before you seal it J.
You can can just about anything, truly.Stews, jams, soups, cooked meats, sauces, fish, milk…just refer to your “Ball Blue Book” andenjoy!
Canning the bounty of the season (and beyond) is really very simple, a great money saver, healthier, enjoyable, makes great gifts, it’s a time saver, and it stocks the pantry, as we never know when we may run into more than a few ‘rainy days’.Not to mention the lessons learned spending time together and teaching our children how to care for our family, preserve foods and eat healthier, it really is a lot of plain ol’ FUN!
Winner, Winner....Chicken Dinner! You did it! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.