Oct 19

The Truth About Home Canning

Raspberry jam

Raspberry jam

If you’ve thought about doing some of your own canning this year but find it a bit intimidating, don’t despair! Learn the difference between truth and myth when it comes to home canning before you throw your arms up and walk away.

Myth One: Canning is too expensive.

Truth: Canning actually save you money!

Most of the canning supplies you need, you’ve probably already got in your own kitchen. Other basic equipment can be purchased for just a few dollars. You don’t even need a special canning pot to boil your jars. You can just use a large lidded pot you already own. You can pick up canning jars at yard sales and thrift stores to save money, and once you have them, you can reuse them for years. The only major expense is if you want to get into pressure canning your food, which you can find for under $100, but which isn’t necessary for many kinds of canning.

Once you’ve got your equipment assembled, canning can actually save you money. How? Because you can make your own fresh, organic foods for less than you can buy them. Not only that, it’s simple and cheaper to can gourmet food, too. That pickled asparagus that you love so much and pay $6.00 a jar for? Can it yourself for $1.50!

Myth Two: Canning is too time consuming.

Truth: Home canning doesn’t take much more time than regular cooking.

Sure, you’ve got to chop and prepare your fruits and vegetables and it might seem like a ton of time because you’re doing a whole bunch at once. But, if you think about it, you could do all that prep work in one day, or stretch out over the course of the year, and you’ll end up with the same amount of time spent. The only added time is processing the jars, but think of the time you’ll save when you don’t have to keep driving to the store for your food! In the end, if you weigh it all out, it comes out pretty even.

Myth Three: Home canning is unsafe.

Truth: Home canned food is just as safe as any other food.

Canning guidelines and recipes have been tested and modified for safety by important folks who do this for a living. They are paid to make sure that the guidelines set out will keep us all safe. If you follow these basic guidelines, you’ll be okay.

Myth Four: The food I can will go bad before I can use it.

Truth: Home canned goods last as long as store canned.

Generally, the guidelines for home canned food say the food should be consumed within one year. So, just do some thinking ahead. For example, how many jars of pickles does your family eat in a year? Can that many jars (or more, because I bet they’ll increase their consumption of them when they taste how good homemade ones are).

Imagine cracking open your own homegrown fruits and veggies for a whole year and not having to rely on the factory canned stuff! I think you’ll come to love it.

Myth Five: You have to be a good cook to can.

Truth: If you can read and follow directions, canning is easy.

Canning is really part cooking, part science, and part adventure. If you think of it that way, it might not be as intimidating. Have fun with it. Canning directions are very clear and detailed. You don’t need to be a great cook to follow the directions and end up with some great tasting canned food.

Myth Six: It’s a hassle to store your home canned food.

Truth: No more so than any other food you store.

It is a good idea to store your canned food in a cool, dark place. And sometimes people complain they don’t have space for storage. Be creative! Does your closet have an unused shelf? Is there space under your bed? Can you add shelves in your garage? There’s probably space somewhere if you put your mind to figuring it out.

Myth Seven: NOBODY cans anymore.

Truth: Canning is making a HUGE comeback.

With the rise of all the negative publicity in how our food is raised and brought to us, people all over are searching for ways to ensure they eat healthy, toxic free foods. One of the ways to do that is to grow (or buy at farmer’s markets) and can your own food. It’s actually very trendy!

The truth of the matter is that canning is an efficient, affordable, easy option for people wanting to be more involved in, and have more control over, their food. If you’re a bit nervous to start on your own, find someone who has done some canning to help you walk through your first batch. You’ll get the hang of it and find out that all those things you erroneously thought about canning were in fact, myths after all!

 

Kerrie Hubbard lives in Portland, Oregon with 10 chickens, 1 cat and several small raised bed gardens. Her website, City Girl Farming (http://www.citygirlfarming.com) is an urban guide to raising and growing your own food in small spaces.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

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