5 Reasons to Can Your Own Food
Do you can your own food?
Did you know it’s almost free?
Did you know it’s WAY healthier than store bought can goods?
Did you know it’s big fun?
Did you know it’s so, so Easy?
I’ll confess, until we bought our farm I had never canned anything……. ever.
I’m comfortable in a kitchen. I have almost always cooked from scratch. I’m not afraid to make my own biscuits, pancakes or pies (no boxes, kits or pre-made pie crusts around here). I even make my own bread, from scratch, with wheat berries, that I grind myself, in my Nutrimill. More on Bread-making here.
I had never ‘canned’ anything. By the way, does anyone else think it should be called, “jarring” instead of “canning?” After all, we aren’t putting food in “cans,” we are putting them in “jars.”
So, back to
Other people were doing it.
I wanted to learn how. I bought myself a Ball Blue Book and some jars. Our farm included about 190 peach trees (yes, that’s one hundred and ninety peach trees), so I had plenty of merchandise to put in cans. And it didn’t matter how many batches I screwed up because I owned the Garden of Eden when it came to peaches.
Here’s what I discovered:
1. CANNING IS EASY!!!
If you have ever made your own bread, from scratch, with wheat berries, that you grind yourself, into flour…….. You will not believe how easy canning is. It is a walk in the park. It is so simple. It takes no time at all. I am used to marathon breadmaking days where I work from early morning until late afternoon to produce loaves of bread. With canning you can be in and out in under an hour.
Now, if you have never made your own bread…….. you will probably still love canning. It will still be easy. Canning will be your friend. Yea Canning!
I am pretty much sticking anything I can find in jars right now. I’m obsessed. Last night I canned 9 jars of pickles, 14 quarts of green beans and 10 half-pints of blackberry jelly……… in a couple hours. It would have been more like 1 hour except the pressure canner must cool. Over 30 cans filled in an evening. So fun!
2. CANNING IS REWARDING
I’ve been filling jars with anything and everything I can get a hold of. The shelves in my basement are getting stocked and I’m bursting with the satisfaction that comes from storing up ‘nuts’ for winter.
There’s nothing quite like looking at your dinner table and seeing all the food you grew, harvested,
jarred canned and are now serving to your family.
I can’t put into words the feeling you get when your baby tells you that your pickles are the best in the world.
Joy bubbles, my friends. Cans of food = happiness.
3. CANNING IS HEALTHY
Here are some of the reasons canning your own food is healthier:
- Fresh – veggies and fruits are guaranteed to be picked and stored at the peak of perfection because you picked them
- Organic- Because you grew it – there aren’t any pesticides or chemicals
- Local – eat your yard! You can’t get much more local than your own garden.
- No preservatives – Yea!
- No additives – Yea again!
- No aluminum – When you can at home you put food in glass jars. No aluminum!
- Less expense – Purchasing organic, local, fresh produce year round is expensive (and not always possible). By canning your own produce you get the goodness without the price tag.
4. THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING ELSE TO CAN
I’ve been shoving things in cans like a freak for the last few weeks. You would think I’d be exhausted. I’m not. I’m looking for something else I can stick in a can! There’s so many options.
If you don’t have the Ball Blue Book, you should get one. It’s easy to use and is filled with great recipes. I also recommend attending classes available in your area. I have attended freezing, canning, and drying classes at our local Extension Office. They are free and I always learn something. It is also a great way to get plugged in to your community and meet some new people.
I’ve canned many different foods, but there’s always something else to can. I want to can meat. I want to can dilly beans. I want to can pickled-corn. I want to can blackberry/ lime-rind marmalade.
So many cans, so little time!
5. CANNING IS ALMOST FREE
Once you own your weight in mason jars (which is not hard once the older folks find out you are interested in canning) it is super cheap to do. At this point in my canning escapades I pretty much own all the jars and rings that I know what to do with (and then some). This makes all the cans and rings free.
I grow bushels of food in my garden. This makes all the food free.
All I have to purchase is the consumable canning supplies: lids, Apple Cider Vinegar, Canning & Pickling Salt, & Pectin.
Putting up your own food for winter really will save you money.
If you’ve never tried canning, let me encourage you:
Go for it!
You can do it!
Start with something simple like pickles (here) or jelly (here). If your first batch doesn’t work out, don’t be discouraged. It took me years to figure out why my jelly was syrup instead of jelly. Ugh. Read about that here.
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Happy Canning Everyone!