Home Canning Basics: Why Can Your Own Food?

Fresh strawberry rhubarb jelly

It’s much easier than you think to can your own food. With the growing desire for food that both tastes good and is good for you, now is the time to get started canning at home. So let’s look at what canning is and why it’s a wonderful alternative to buying processed food at the grocery store.

What is Canning?

A process of preparing food in sealed glass jars in such a way that all the microbes (that cause food to go bad) are destroyed. When canning and sealing properly, a vacuum is created that prevents more bacteria from growing inside the food.

Why Can Your Own Food?

It’s Healthier!

First and foremost, canning your own homegrown fruits and vegetables gives you control over the chemicals and additives put in your food. You can eat natural, better tasting food with a confidence that you’re not feeding your family something potentially harmful for them.

It Tastes Better!

There’s nothing quite like eating your own strawberry jam made with fresh, ripe berries, or homemade salsa using tomatoes off the vine in your garden. The store bought stuff doesn’t stand a chance! There’s simply no comparison!

Make it Your Own!

Another great reason to can your own food is that you can customize it to your personal tastes. If you love cinnamon, for example, you can add it to your apple, peach or pear jam for a specialty jam just for you. (Feel free to try Spicy Pear Jam…it’s one of the most requested jams by my friends and family).

It’s Cheaper

Sure, there’s an initial investment of some basic canning equipment, but much of it you probably have in your kitchen already. Some of it you can find at garage and estate sales, if you keep your eyes open. Most if it is re-usable (even the jars), so once you gather the things you’ll need, your only ongoing expense will be new jars (when needed), new jar bands and the actual ingredients you are planning to can.

It Saves Time Later

If you invest a little time now and ‘put up’ batches of food, you’ll save time later. You’ll also be more prepared for sudden snowstorms and other unexpected events that might keep you from the store. With a stocked pantry, you’re all set!

You’ll Be on the Cutting Edge of Trendy!

Gourmet, organic, homemade food is trendy. Take a jar of your homemade salsa, pickled asparagus or dilled carrot spears to your next get together and prepare for people to ask you where you got the gourmet food!

It’s much easier than you might think to get started canning your own food. Start small, with an easy recipe like a fresh fruit jam, and grow from there as your confidence grows. Before you know it, you’ll be hooked on canning and wonder why you waited so long to try!

Kerrie Hubbard lives in Portland, Oregon with 9 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.

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