I’ve heard many fond memories from people who watched their mother or grandmother can ripe fruits and vegetables fresh from their farm or garden. Each story is completed with the naming of a favorite preserved food, something they still long for. Something that gave them the taste of summer in the depths of winter.
What I also heard during the course of these remembrances was how time consuming and difficult it is to can your own food, and how it’s not worth the effort.
Canning Is For Everyone
Last year, however, with Kim’s guidance, I decided to try it anyway. During my first canning season I quickly figured out that it was not nearly as time consuming or difficult as I had been led to believe. It may have taken our mothers and grandmothers entire days to can tomatoes, but they were trying to store enough food to keep the whole family fed through the winter.
When you are canning for enjoyment you can do as much or as little as you want. Once I completed a few canning projects and got into a routine, I could complete whole canning session in the evening after work.
Canning is for everyone! And I encourage anyone with an interest to give it a try this year. To help you start off better prepared than I did, here are a few tips, tricks and useful links gleaned from my experience.
Tips And Tricks
Decide what you want to can in advance and put the “season” on your calendar so you don’t miss it. Some fruits peaks for only a few short weeks and whether you are buying or picking your own you want to make sure you get the ripest, freshest local food.
Choose your recipes before you go to the store or field so you get the right amount of food to can. There’s nothing more disappointing than being a pound short or watching food spoil because you can’t get everything canned in time.
Buy your jars early in the year because by the time it’s apple season most stores will be sold out of canning jars. Although you can order online it may not be convenient to wait for them to be shipped to you.
Buy jars sold as canning supplies. The individual canning jars sold as decorative items cost a lot more than jars sold as supplies.
Get your supplies before the season starts and do a dry run of a canning project to make sure the basket fits in your pot, your pot is tall enough to fit your tallest jar and an inch of water and to figure out how to arrange all the pots on your stove. Otherwise you might run into “technical” issues during your first project and that can spoil the fun. Read more about my mistake here.
The long, cold winter promises to make this a great year for fruit so I hope you’ll give canning a try. And remember, we’re here to answer your questions and celebrate your successes, so share them with us in the comments section below.
Nicole knows making small changes for the greener add up over time and hopes you’re inspired to make some changes of your own after reading her articles. She focuses on easy, green, homemade personal products and green living tips for city dwellers. Nicole lives in Pittsburgh, PA and you can find her on twitter at @_nlg_.