In the first part of the food preservation series, we discussed dehydrating your food to keep it fresh longer.
Today, we are going to talk about a timeless way to preserve your harvest: canning.
Canning has been around A LONG TIME. In fact, I love to look for old canning jars and supplies while I am roaming around the antiques store.
Some things have changed since your grandmother used to can her harvest, but the basics are still the same.
Why can your food?
- It saves the nutrients of fresh food straight from the garden.
- By canning your harvest, you can preserve it for several years without refrigeration.
- You can make food with ingredients you approve of and can pronounce.
- My favorite – the different colored jars look so pretty on the shelf.
What tools do you need?
What can you can?
You can preserve just about any kind of food by canning.
The best things to can are (but not limited to):
Jams & Jellies
How do you store canned food?
Canned food can be stored on the shelf after it is processed in the pressure or water bath canner.
Store canned food in the back of your pantry, where it is usually dark and cooler. This will help the food stay preserved for longer.
Canned food will last for several years in your pantry, but the nutritional quality will decrease over time.
- Can your food as quick after the harvest as possible to keep the nutrients high quality.
- Label your canned foods with name and date canned.
- Rotate your food so that you use the oldest first.
- Pay attention to your altitude, because times will change according to your location.
- Clean your jars and lids in warm water (or the dishwasher) right before using.
- If you have someone that can mentor you in-person, this is the best way to learn how to can properly.
- Can low acidic foods with a pressure canner and high acidic foods with a water bath canner.
- Leave a little head space (empty space) at the top of your jar for foods to expand.
- Only use jars specific for canning. Don’t use leftover jars from other places for canning.
- Canned goods such as jams, jellies and salsa make great homemade gifts.
Recipes to get started:
Canning can be intimidating at first. Everyone starts out by worrying if they are going to blow themselves up! That’s normal!
Hopefully these tips, recipes and resources will encourage you to try canning this fall. It is a lot of work to can your harvest, but it is very satisfying as well. I love to see those pretty jars sitting on the shelf.
It makes me feel so accomplished to know that I have preserved the food I grew myself in the garden for the winter to come. What a great reward for a job well done!
Do you have any favorite canning tricks or recipes? Share them in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!