Canning season is right around the corner. Some folks have already begun. I love canning; it actually very calming and therapeutic for me. Plus, I get the added benefit of knowing I can feed my family good quality products year-round. Putting a garden in; no matter how big or small, is one of the best things you can do for your family.
Canning doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. You don’t have to start with tons of fancy equipment. In my house, my basics are a giant stock pot, jars of all sizes, lids and rings to match. I can get quite a bit done in a day; which saves me so much time (and money) through the rest of the year. My hope is that with these few tips, you’ll have an easier time starting on your canning journey.
Canning Basics 101
One way to stock your pantry with some foods that you love is to preserve them. Are you new to the idea of canning and preserving? This article will give you an overview of what the process is all about and how it can help you to store delicious items to eat later.
What is Canning?
Canning is the process of preserving foods for eating later. It was a great way for people to have food throughout the winter months. Summer fare won’t last forever. One way to keep enjoying the taste of summer berries and vegetables is to preserve them. That’s one way that people living in remote locations in the early days were able to survive the long harsh winters.
Benefits of Canning
Canning does take a while to do until you get the hang of the process. So, why can at all? There are several benefits for you and your family.
Canning is economical – It saves money on groceries. When you want strawberry preserves, you go to the pantry instead of heading to the store.
Canning cuts out food waste – Fruits and vegetables that you have grown in your garden don’t have to be given away or thrown away because you can’t eat them all before they spoil.
Fresh and good for you – Canning uses the natural fresh ingredients without preservatives or additives. This is better for the body. Also, the natural flavor of the food comes through for a tastier meal.
The Canning Process
In order to get started, you’ll need a few tools. Kitchen and home stores usually stock what you will need to get started. You can also Google “canning supplies” online to see the best stores and the best prices. Even if you only can foods one season, your equipment will have paid for itself.
You will need:
- Canning jars, seals and lids
Wide mouth funnel
Jar lifting tongs
Pressure canner or large cooking pot with lid
Large pot or Dutch oven
The first thing you will need to do is to sterilize your jars and lids. Wash them with hot water and soap. Then boil them for about 10 minutes. Make sure that they are completely covered so they are sterilized inside and out.
Prepare your food. Slice up or dice your vegetables and fruits. Pickling may be preferred for some vegetables. Make preserves out of your fruits if you wish. Prepare them at the peak of freshness for maximum flavor and nutrition. Add lemon juice to tomatoes to achieve stable pH. Ascorbic acid can prevent fruits from browning in the jar.
Fill the jars with your fruits and vegetables, leaving space for expansion. Add boiling liquid or pickling solution until it covers the top of the food. Remove any air bubbles before sealing with the lids and the rings.
To complete the process, the sealed jars must be placed into boiling water in a pot of pressure canner. Make sure water covers the jars when water bath canning. The boiling time depends on the food and the altitude.
Allow jars to cool and vacuum seal before labeling and storing them.
Canning allows you to enjoy your favorite foods all year round!!!
Are you a canner? I would love to hear what types of things you can for your family.
Here are some super simple recipes to help you get started:
Canning Tomatoes. Canning your own tomatoes is super duper awesome. I use these canned tomatoes as the base for stew, vegetable soup, chili, goulash, and homemade pasta sauces.
With this pickle recipe, you can be eating crunch dills all year and never pay supermarket prices again!
Canned pumpkin, the perfect addition to pie.
Pumpkin butter – the perfect partner to toast, pancakes and waffles.
Don’t forget the applesauce!