Home canning is one of the easiest ways to save on your food budget and increase self sufficiency. Nothing compares to the feeling of independence you get when you look at shelves stocked with food that you canned yourself. Imagine serving up a meal that was partially (or entirely!) prepared from food that you canned. I can tell you from personal experience that it feels pretty good!
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Canning food is easy once you understand the basics about the canning process and the supplies needed. Buying food in bulk and canning it, can help cut way down on on your food budget. At the same time it will improve the quality, nutrition and flavor of the food that you eat. There are many places that you can find fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats in bulk quantities for canning and freezing.
Next to freezing, home canning is the most commonly used way of preserving foods. A couple of generations ago, practically every household in America practiced some form of canning. There are three basic canning methods. I included a fourth one that I use regularly.
-Boiling Water Canning - This method is used for high acid foods. Most fruits and some vegetables most notably, tomatoes are canned using this technique.
-Pressure Canning or Steam Canning is used for low acid fruits and vegetables, and all meats and fish. Most vegetables are considered low acid.
-Inversion Method - This method is used primarily for canning jellies, jams and preserves.
-Vacuum Sealing - this method can be used for dry foods like flour, corn meal, and popcorn. This method can also be used to prepare and preserve gift jars containing home made baking mixes - a really cool idea for Christmas and other gift-giving occasions.
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Besides canning jars and lids there are some basic supplies that you will need, to be sure that you are able to practice home canning easily and safely. If you purchasing these supplies up front, I promise that your adventure in canning will be much easier. Improvising equipment during the canning process because you don't have what you need, is not safe and can cause injury or food spoilage.
There are some safety precautions that you must take to prevent your canned food from spoiling. Spoiled food can make you VERY sick, so follow canning instructions carefully. preparation methods, canning pressures and processing times are very important to making sure that your canned food keeps for a long time.
Here are some of my favorite canning recipes. I guess they are my
favorites because I grow these items myself in my garden and orchard.
You can also find literally hundreds of canning recipes, and more information on canning techniques in The Ball Blue Book of Preserving.
Learning basic home canning methods can give you a lifetime of independence and self sufficiency.
Canning food yourself can reduce your food budget, and provide your family with a healthy alternative to
fast foods. Canned food for the most part IS fast food. You can open a jar of vegetables, meat,
soup or stew, pour the contents in a pan, warm it up on the stove, and it's ready to eat. No thawing, no muss, no fuss.
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